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Pitt Embarrassed in Backyard Brawl, Loses to WVU 17-6

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Pitt quarterback Phil Jurkovec.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Christian Veilleux stood rooted to the sideline throughout the second half, helmet in hand, watching as Phil Jurkovec trotted back onto the field with the offense.

It’s only guesswork at this point, but it’s hard to believe he’d have been any worse running Pitt’s offense into the ground in an embarrassing 17-6 loss to West Virginia Saturday night at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.

Jurkovec completed just 40% of his pass attempts for 81 yards and three interceptions, one in the first and two in the second, and he somehow managed to look worse than he did against Cincinnati in the process. Pitt managed just 211 total yards. The defense, despite allowing a big night from WVU’s CJ Donaldson, had a strong performance wasted in the process.

And, just to be fair, it was a brutal night for the entire offense. Not just Jurkovec. But he is the No. 1 culprit.

It was a brutal night for Pitt in general at Mountaineer Field, a poor return to Morgantown for the first time in 11 years. And what makes it even worse is that Pitt opened the game by operating an offense that looked like it could, maybe, score some points.

It took Pitt three drives to hit the 10-play mark against Cincinnati. It took just the opening drive against WVU, running — only running actually — 11 plays to set up Ben Sauls for a 21-yard field goal to open the scoring.

Rodney Hammond Jr., who carried the ball just six times against Cincy, racked up seven carries for 41 yards on the opener. But any sort of offensive rhythm disappeared rather quickly.

When Pat Narduzzi said Thursday that he wanted to run the ball 50 times, he actually meant it. Pitt’s first 17 plays consisted of 16 runs and one Phil Jurkovec play-action bootleg. Whether it was penalties or poor field position or a lack of trust (hint, hint), Pitt didn’t even attempt a pass.

WVU, with backup quarterback Nicco Marchiol subbed in for an injured Garrett Greene, completed the same number of passes (3) for more yards (35) in the first half. And Marchiol didn’t throw the back interception that Jurkovec did either.

Pitt killed a WVU scoring chance midway through the second quarter, with Bam Brima leaping on top of a botched handoff between Marchiol and CJ Donaldson, and Pitt looked poised to run the ball some more. But on the first snap of the drive, Jurkovec was flushed out of the pocket, scrambled toward the sideline and fired an ill-advised ball into triple coverage that was picked off by WVU’s Aubrey Burks.

Marchiol found jumbo tight end Kole Taylor for a 7-yard touchdown on the next WVU snap, giving the Mountaineers an early 7-3 lead. Pitt added a field goal just before the halftime break, a 36-yarder from Sauls, but the entire 12-play drive felt like pulling teeth.

And after another Pitt three and out to open the second half, WVU executed a perfect 13-play, 61-yard drive that chewed up nearly eight minutes and resulted in a Donaldson touchdown. An 8-point deficit felt like an insurmountable hurdle.

Another horrific Jurkovec interception, firing another ill-advised ball into triple coverage that WVU’s Beanie Bishop picked off with ease, continued a nightmare evening for Pitt fans. A 42-yard field goal on the ensuing drive just stretched WVU’s further.

A couple of true freshmen combining on a blocked punt (Rasheem Biles blocking it, and Braylan Lovelace recovering it) set up Pitt with good field position and a chance to make a late push. But the WVU defensive line stuffed Jurkovec on 4th-and-1 inside the Mountaineers’ 30. And that just about wrapped it up.

Aside from a third interception from WVU’s Malachi Ruffin late in the fourth quarter as Pitt tried to score before the buzzer.

Pitt’s non-conference schedule will now be on the back burner until Halloween weekend as Pitt welcomed No. 20 North Carolina to Acrisure Stadium. It will be the first ACC game of the season.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Jeff R
Jeff R
9 months ago

A pathetic showing from the offense and coaches. I’m done with this team. I’m sticking with volleyball and soccer.

Don
Don
9 months ago

Wow!!! Where to start…..embarrassing is an understatement….pretty easy to understand why Cignetti in his 9th job in 16 yrs and Jurko is at his 3rd school. Pittiful!!!!! Going to be a long year!!!

GoPitt
GoPitt
9 months ago
Reply to  Don

It was ugly for the offence after the 1st quarter.

Dan O
Dan O
9 months ago

Narduzzi is going to lose this team if no QB change is made. Players know. If Narduzzi wants to play these type of games he needs efficient QB play

Sam
Sam
9 months ago

Narduzzi destroying this team with his stubborn pig-headedness. The team is demoralized knowing they have no chance to win another game with Jurkovec in there. What a slap in the face that their head coach puts his arrogance above putting his team in the best position to win with a qb change. I am dejected by Narduzzi’s terrible decision making. Can’t imagine what these players, who have put in so much hard work, are feeling right now.

Adam
Adam
9 months ago

Why is Narduzzi loyal to a guy who turned him down twice, only to show up here on his third school?

John Smith
John Smith
9 months ago
Reply to  Adam

Duzzi has no loyalty to his recuits he brings in transfers and pushs his experienced program guys to the side for less talented transfers and he’s paying for it no Kenny to save you this go around. However, he wants loyalty from his recuits. I never seen a program so unstable in my life.

Mad
Mad
9 months ago

Pitt needs to Start a new Qb against North Carolina. there offense stinks. Penalties dropped passes, bad offensive line

Receivers-quit dropping,fumbling

I will be going to Noth Carolina game

Waldo Paduza
Waldo Paduza
9 months ago

Fire Cignetti. Use Veilleux the rest of the way. His game planning is a joke. They made no adjustments offensively as the game went on. Does Narduzzi know you can go to the bullpen if your starting qb stinks? He could have made a change last week, too. After Jurkovec missed Carter on the easy touchdown right before halftime he should have been removed. It is shame their closed minded thought process is destroying the team.

Steve Malik
Steve Malik
9 months ago

Jurkovic is a 6yr senior… plays like deer in headlights freshman

WVU
WVU
9 months ago

Thanks for stopping by Morgantown, had a blast. See ya next time.
– WV

Sharon
Sharon
9 months ago

Lyke and Narduzzi have betrayed the players , fans, staff and university. They have allowed a con man Frank Cignetti destroy this team. They let this con man put the blame on Slovis last year.
Narduzzi should be fired for being conned by Cignetti and allowing Cig to ruin a formally good team. Narduzzi is OBVIOUSLY incompetent or he is too much of a pussy to fire Cignetti.
Heather, fire Cignetti, cut Narduzzi’s pay.

Young
Young
9 months ago

I wonder what elite QBs and WRs ever come Pitt to play after watching this game?
Worst Pitt game I think I have ever watched since I graduated in 1995.

Slovis seems much better QB and MAN than this QB we have and probably also the OC.

Tom
Tom
9 months ago

Narduzzi is too busy yammering on how much he hates Penn State than to actually concentrate on getting his team ready to play.

Tom
Tom
9 months ago

Narduzzi is too busy being arrogant and know-it-all, does not know how to coach big games.

Tom
Tom
9 months ago

Look, bottom line: Narduzzi is too busy yammering about Penn State, on how Pitt can beat PSU…..meantime…Pitt(iful) Panthers keep losing. Can you imagine Narduzzi taking this team to Beaver Stadium in front of 110,000 fans?….HA!

Rob
Rob
9 months ago

First off, I was never a Pat Narduzzi fan. I feel he is arrogant, bullyheaded, and a loud mouth. I said at the start of the season this team will go 5-7. Cignetti has no clue how to run a 2023 offense. Jurkovec has proven so far , he is overrated and not confident in the offense. His delivery seems more like he aims instead of throws the ball..I believe Cignetti will be gone after this year and Narduzzi will be given next year to either get a homerun hire OC or he will be next. His bad decision making… Read more »

bighomie
bighomie
9 months ago
Reply to  Rob

3-9? I don’t see how they even find 2 more wins with this Jurkovec 🤡 at the helm.

Maz1960
Maz1960
9 months ago

What a disappointment. Here is a problem with the autonomy a college coach has. There is no GM or owner to challenge the coach. Unchallenged Narduzzi forces Whipple out. Maybe Whipple had the benefit of Kenny Pickett, but you can’t say he did not have a plan of attack. Narduzzi brings in his type of OC. Maybe Narduzzi should stick to his strength … defense. This is the second season with Cignetti. Slovis looked terrible last year and now the same with Jurkovec. Maybe the common denominator isn’t simply terrible QB’s.

Let’s Believe
Let’s Believe
9 months ago

This post is not a joke…

Could Jurkovec pass a drug test? He’s gotta be on something, he can’t actually be that bad.

Eugene
Eugene
9 months ago

I think Narduzzi will bail out and go back to Michigan State!

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