It’s been something of a tradition for Pitt under Pat Narduzzi to play some unexpectedly tight games against lower-level opponents.
Saturday, Pitt’s offense blew that tradition apart.
The Panthers unloaded offensively, scoring on six straight possessions to open up a 42-point lead before the Panthers let off the gas, coasting to a 55-0 victory.
Pitt’s defense was stout, holding the Governors to 109 yards of total offense, including an absurd seven rushing yards, and two turnovers.
But the story was the dynamic Pitt offensive, which came out guns blazing as opposed to Narduzzi’s traditionally conservative approach in season openers.
Kenny Pickett, whose day was done before the end of the first half, finished with 277 yards on 14 of 20 passing and two touchdowns, one through the air and one on the ground.
Pickett connected with Shocky Jacques-Louis for a 68-yard pass on Pitt’s second possession, a 51-yard touchdown on DJ Turner on the third drive, and a 68-yard pass to Jaylon Barden on the fifth drive as Pitt unleashed its deep passing game.
After that, the rushing game took over, and Pitt’s stable of backs proved its name. All five Pitt scholarship running backs carried the ball and four of the five of them scored touchdowns, with Vincent Davis leading the team with 11 carries, 43 yards and two touchdowns. Israel Abanikanda (five carries, 26 yards, touchdown), A.J. Davis (five carries, 24 yards), Daniel Carter (four carries, 18 yards, touchdown) and Todd Sibley, Jr., (four carries, two yards, touchdown) all contributed while Pitt ran away with the game.
In the second half, Joey Yellen and Davis Beville split the quarterbacking duties, and Pitt got nearly the entire freshman class of 2020 involved in the game.