Israel Abanikanda wasn’t happy with his performance against West Virginia to open the season, so he promised head coach Pat Narduzzi that he’d play better going forward.
Abanikanda knew he’d be able to bounce back against Tennessee, and he did with a career-best performance against the Volunteers.
It was a banner day, adding 154 yards on the ground and 21 yards through the air on 26 touches, and his 76-yard touchdown in the first half was the longest rushing touchdown since Qadree Ollison’s 98-yard rushing touchdown against Virginia Tech in 2018.
And for his efforts, Abanikanda was named as the ACC Running Back of the Week.
🏆 ACC RB of the Week 🏆
Israel Abanikanda » @IAbanikanda
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) September 12, 2022
Abanikanda leads Pitt with 169 yards (5.1 yards per attempt) and a touchdown on 33 carries, and he’s added 45 yards (22.5 yards per reception) and a touchdown on two carries.
With 651 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground and 197 yards and a touchdown through the air, Abanikanda led Pitt in both rushing and receiving out of the backfield last season. And the one-two punch of Abanikanda and Rodney Hammond Jr. will be a key factor in the offense this season.
Wake Forest’s quarterback Sam Hartman and wide receiver A.T. Perry and Syracuse’s offensive lineman Matthew Bergeron join Abanikanda on the ACC Offense of the Week. Virginia Tech’s defensive lineman TyJuan Garbutt, North Carolina’s linebacker Cedric Gray and Duke’s defensive back Jaylen Stinson comprise the ACC Defense of the Week.
Miami’s Andres Borregales is the ACC Specialist of the Week, and North Carolina’s Omarion Hampton is the ACC Rookie of the Week.