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Pitt Dominates ACC Player of the Week Team; Abanikanda, Dennis, Hill, Sauls Honored



Pitt’s 28-26 win over Duke wasn’t pretty, it came down to the last minute — literally — and it felt like a lot was left on the field.

But Pitt’s success resulted largely from the efforts of four players across the offense, defense and special teams.

Israel Abanikanda was named the ACC Running Back of the Week, SirVocea Dennis was named the ACC Linebacker of the Week, Brandon Hill was named the ACC Safety of the Week and Ben Sauls was named the ACC Co-Specialist of the Week.

Abanikanda, who played banged up throughout the second half, racked up 113 rushing yards, 21 receiving yards, a rushing touchdown and a two-point conversion to propel Pitt’s offense. His 113 yards on the ground marked his eighth 100-yard performance of the season, and his 1,320 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns pace the ACC this season.

It’s tough to describe the impact Abanikanda has had on Pitt’s offense this season.

Dennis led Pitt with 14 tackles (six solo) against Duke, and he added a tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry and stout defense against the run — limiting Duke’s second-ranked rushing offense to a season-low 63 yards.

Hill was just behind Dennis with eight tackles (three solo), and he broke up two passes and returned a fumble 30 yards for what would be the game-winning touchdown over the Blue Devils.

Sauls connected on both of his field goal attempts on a cold, windy afternoon at Acrisure Stadium, hitting from 47 and a career-high 51 yards. He also knocked two point-after attempts through the uprights.

The growth that Sauls has undergone since missing twice against Tennessee in Week 2 has been impressive, missing just twice since — one of which was a 54 yarder off the uprights.

Pitt has one more chance to stuff the ACC Team of the Week, matching up against Miami Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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