PITTSBURGH — Pitt’s ability to upset highly rated opponents over the years has drawn comparison to a super weapon, capable of destroying a team’s chances at a national championship.
On Saturday against No. 3 Notre Dame, the super weapon imploded.
The Panthers were out-played, out-coached and spent more time arguing amongst themselves than they did competing with the Fighting Irish in a 45-3 blowout that wasn’t even as close as the final score indicates.
Pitt backup quarterback Joey Yellen threw three interceptions, which led to 21 Notre Dame points.
The Panthers pass defense was shredded by Notre Dame senior quarterback Ian Book, who threw for 312 yards and three scores on 16 of 30 passing in the first three quarters, before allowing his understudy to take care of business.
On the sideline, things didn’t go any better for Pitt. Offensive coordinator was overheard telling Yellen to “suck it up” and get out of his head by ABC’s Molly McGrath. Star safety Paris Ford was benched in the second half amid a shouting match with some of the Pitt coaches.
And then there’s the sequence at the end of the first half that can only be described as an embarrassment. With the Panthers trialing, 21-3 after Yellen’s first interception had just turned into seven points for Notre Dame, Pitt got the ball back with 1:29 to play.
They ran three straight times and then completed a pass to Vincent Davis for a two-yard loss, attempting to let the clock run out on the half. Notre Dame called time out to try to get the ball back, forcing Pitt to punt.
The punt was blocked by Irish defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey and recovered in the end zone for a touchdown.
Both teams spent most of the second half playing backups, including Pitt third- and fourth-string quarterbacks Davis Beville and Nick Patti, who combined to complete two of six passes for 17 yards.
The Panthers have a bye week before traveling to Florida State on Nov. 7.