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How Pitt Has Fared in Recent FCS Matchups



Pitt running back Israel Abanikanda.

Pitt may not open on a Thursday night in front of the largest crowd in Pittsburgh history (when it comes to a sporting event) this season, but a weekend date against Wofford is in the cards.

Pitt has played an FCS opponent every year dating back to 2009, and there has only been one loss in that span. There have been some close calls over the years, but the Panthers have primarily used FCS opponents as a way to ease into a new season or pick up a needed win before conference play kicks off.

Shawn Watson and his Wofford Terriers will travel to Pittsburgh for the first-ever meeting between Pitt and Wofford, with a 3:30 p.m. kickoff on Saturday.

But before that, let’s take a look at how Pitt has fared in recent FCS matchups.

2022 – Rhode Island – 45-24

Fourth game of the season.

As he often did last season, Israel Abanikanda carried Pitt to a victory over Rhode Island with a 177-yard, 4-touchdown performance at Acrisure Stadium. A three-score win is always nice, but it never seemed Pitt was able to just pull away from the Rams.

2021 – New Hampshire – 77-7

Fourth game of the season.

Pickett and the Panthers rebounded from a bad Western Michigan loss by racking up a program-record 707 yards of offense and 77 points on the poor Wildcats. Pickett’s Heisman campaign heated up as he threw for 403 yards and five touchdowns, (true freshman) Rodney Hammond Jr. ran for 100 yards and three touchdowns and Pitt limited New Hampshire’s offensive attack to just 160 yards.

2020 – Austin Peay – 55-0

First game of the season.

Pitt opened the COVID-19 season with a shellacking of Austin Peay, scoring 21 in the first quarter, 21 more in the second quarter and cruised to an easy 55-o win over the Governors. Pickett threw for a touchdown and run for another, and Vincent Davis, (true freshman) Israel Abanikanda, Daniel Carter and Todd Sibley all scored on the ground.

2019 – Delaware – 17-14

Fifth game of the season.

Pitt avoided disaster against Delaware when Nick Patti — who was making his first start at Pitt — led a fourth quarter touchdown drive. His 12-yard toss to Taysir Mack in the back of the end zone retook the lead for Pitt, and the Pitt defense, which allowed just 170 yards of offense, clamped down to secure a shaky win.

2018 – Albany – 33-7

First game of the season.

Pickett led Pitt to an easy win in the 2018 season opener at what was then Heinz Field, throwing for two scores and running for another. Maurice Ffrench housed the opening kickoff, and the defense picked off Vincent Testaverde twice to stifle any sort of offensive progress from the Great Danes.

2012 – Youngstown State – 17-31 

First game of the season.

You have to go back to Paul Chryst’s debut in 2012 for the last Panthers loss to an FCS opponent. Youngstown State came quickly and sat on a lead basically the entire afternoon on the way to a win. The Penguins outgained Pitt, didn’t turn the ball over (compared to the Panthers’ two fumbles and a turnover on downs) and out possessed Pitt by over 10 minutes. It was a poor game all around.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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