Pitt’s season-opening laugher against Austin Peay didn’t exactly provide a good benchmark for how good the Panthers might be this season.
But it also might not take long for Pitt to find out exactly how good it is. Week 2 opponent Syracuse, which comes to Heinz Field on Saturday, is not expected to be a world-beater, either, but the Orange are coming off a Week 1 drubbing at the hands of North Carolina, the consensus No. 3 team in the conference entering the season.
The Tar Heels rocked Syracuse, 31-6 in Chapel Hill on Saturday. Javonte Williams scored three times as the North Carolina offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage and didn’t have to rely on the prodigious talents of quarterback Sam Howell, who finished with 295 yards and a touchdown on 25 of 34 passing.
Pitt won’t play North Carolina this season after the re-configuring of the ACC schedule, but the Panthers can use this Saturday’s game with the Orange as a measuring stick to see how they’d stack up toward the top of the conference.
Remember when Pitt terrorized the Syracuse quarterbacks in the Carrier Dome last season to the tune of nine sacks? Well if Pitt can get its starting defensive line back together — and maybe even if they can’t — you can probably count on a re-enactment of that scene from a year ago.
North Carolina sacked quarterback Tommy DeVito seven times for 37 yards and he was hurried another nine times, and that’s with a defense that does not have the same type of pedigree as Pitt’s.
The lone bright spot for Syracuse was a secondary that intercepted Howell twice, with All-American safety Andre Cisco and linebacker Mikel Jones each getting in on the action. After that, the next best place to grab an Orange positive was the play of punter Nolan Cooney, who averaged 47.8 yards on nine kicks, including a 58-yarder.
AROUND THE ACC
No. 1 Clemson never trailed in a 37-13 rout at Wake Forest. Trevor Lawrence had three touchdowns.
Notre Dame scored 10 unanswered in the fourth quarter to pull away from Duke, 27-13. Karen Williams rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns.
Florida State continued to struggle under new head coach Mike Norvell, dropping its season opener for the fourth straight season, this time to upstart Georgia Tech, 16-13 in Tallahassee.
Louisville took care of business in non-conference action, easily defeating Western Kentucky, 35-21 thanks to a three-score second quarter. Micale Cunningham threw for 343 yards and three scores.
Miami took care of business with a 31-14 win over UAB on Thursday. Cam’Ron Harris rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns.
Boston College, NC State, Virginia and Virginia Tech did not play this week.