ATLANTA – It wasn’t pretty, but Pitt did enough things right Saturday to spoil homecoming for Georgia Tech and leave the Flats with a victory.
The Panthers’ defense was strong and their offense connected on a handful of point-producing plays, powering Pat Narduzzi’s squad to a 20-10 win over the Yellow Jackets at the historic Bobby Dodd Stadium in front of announced crowd of 41,219 fans.
With the win, Pitt (6-3; 3-2 ACC) is bowl eligible for the 16th time in the past 20 years.
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) November 3, 2019
The Panthers started the game off strong on a cold but sunny day in Georgia, driving 62 yards in 10 plays to go ahead 3-0 after a 32-yard field goal from Alex Kessman. Pitt’s defense then got Georgia Tech (2-6; 1-4 ACC) off the field in five plays, giving the offense decent field position and another scoring opportunity, but on the first play of the drive, quarterback Kenny Pickett threw his first of his two interceptions on the day.
Luckily, Pitt’s defense came up big again, forcing a three-and-out, and the Panthers hit a home run on the first play of their next possession. Lining up in a wildcat-type formation, running back Vincent Davis took the direct snap, broke a tackle and eluded several Yellow Jackets, scampering 61 yards to pay-dirt.
Davis finished the day with 67 rushing yards on six carries. AJ Davis paced the Pitt ground game with 75 yards on 16 carries.
The Pitt defense then forced another three-and-out, only for the offense to turn the ball over again. This time, Pickett’s pass bounced off the hands of Nakia Griffin-Stewart before falling into the arms of a Georgia Tech defender. Pitt turned the ball over three times in the first half, with Maurice Ffrench fumbling on the Panthers’ next possession.
Georgia Tech was finally able to capitalize on a turnover then, as James Graham found Ahmarean Brown for a 51-yard score after Ffrench’s fumble. Pitt got back on track with its next possession too though, as Pickett capped off an eight-play drive by finding Shocky Jacques-Louis for a 12-yard touchdown pass.
Pickett wouldn’t score in the second half, and finished the day with 204 passing yards while completing 25-of-34 attempts, for a six yards per-attempt average. The 6-foot-2 junior also rushed for eight yards.
Pitt’s defense remained vigorous and vigilant throughout, racking up six tackles-for-loss, two sacks, two pass break-ups, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. The Panthers held Georgia Tech’s offense to 2-of-13 on third down conversions.
It wasn’t all good for the Pitt defense though as starting star linebacker Phil Campbell III was disqualified in the second quarter after being flagged for targeting. But Cam Bright stepped in and the Pitt defense didn’t miss a beat. Bright had two tackles and returned a fumble 79 yards.
Because the targeting foul occurred in the first half of this game, Campbell will be eligible to play for the entirety of Pitt’s next game, on Nov. 14 when the Panthers host UNC.