PITTSBURGH — Pitt redshirt freshman defensive lineman Samuel Okunlola made a big impact in the second quarter against No. 14 Louisville on Saturday night at Acrisure Stadium.
Louisville had momentum and moved down the field into the red zone, with a second down and 10 at the 15-yard line. Senior quarterback Jack Plummer faked the hand off to sophomore running back Maurice Turner and looked to throw. Redshirt senior right tackle Eric Miller failed to contain Okunlola, who beat him on the outside and moved into the pocket to sack Plummer.
Okunlola would run at Plummer, leap at him and smack the ball out of his hands. They both fell to the ground, but Okunlola found the ball and earned possession for Pitt.
Strip sack by Samuel Okunlola 🎥
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) October 14, 2023
The play proved vital for Pitt, as they would score on the ensuing drive, which went 10 plays, 71 yards and five minutes long.
Samuel Okunlola hasn’t seen much time of the field this season, as he is the No. 3 listed defensive end on the depth chart, behind starter in senior Dayon Hayes and backup redshirt sophomore Nahki Johnson. He had a sack each against Wofford in the season opener and against then ranked No. 17 North Carolina in Week 4. He had two tackles in the Week 5 loss to Virginia Tech on the road.
Okunlola has received lots of praise from defensive line coach Charlie Partridge and defensive coordinator Randy Bates. If he continues to make important plays for Pitt, he’ll see more and more snaps on the field.
He hails from Brockton, Mass., a city south of Boston and played for Thayer Academy in nearby Braintree. His brother, Samson Okunlola, plays for ACC foe Miami as an offensive lineman.