Pitt football head coach Pat Narduzzi is finally coming off a win, as his team pulled off a victory over No. 14 Louisville at home last Saturday.
The win ended a four-game losing streak for the Panthers, their longest since 2020 and ended their worst start to a season, 1-4, since 2005. It is also the highest ranked win for the Panthers since they defeated the No. 2 Miami Hurricanes, 24-14, in the 2017 season finale.
WPXI sports reporter Jenna Harner held her weekly sit-down with Narduzzi on Thursday at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the Southside.
The duo discussed how important the win against Louisville was and what that means going forward for his team. Narduzzi also spoke on making sure his team built that momentum throughout the week to make sure they stay on track ahead of Wake Forest.
Narduzzi complimented redshirt sophomore Christian Veilleux on his first collegiate start and how he improved throughout the victory over the Cardinals. Veilleux finished with 200 yards passing, completing 12 of his 26 pass attempts and getting two touchdowns through the air as well.
He also reiterated that this week is just like any other week for Pitt, as the opponent is not important for how the team conducts practice.
Pitt has faced Wake Forest twice before, with the stakes much higher than this weekend. The first meeting saw Pitt beat Wake Forest 34-13 on the road in 2018, which clinched their first ACC Coastal Division Title, and then again 45-21 the 2021 ACC Championship Game for their first ACC title.
Narduzzi downplayed the ACC Championship matchup with the Demon Deacons. He said he has never watched the game and is more focused on the current Demon Deacons his team will face on the road on Saturday.
Wake Forest comes into this matchup 3-3 overall and 0-3 in the ACC, with the three straight losses against Georgia Tech at home and then Clemson and Virginia Tech on the road. It is the first time since 2018 that they started conference play with three straight losses.
The Demon Deacons also have some issues at quarterback. Head coach Dave Clawson benched his starter, sophomore Mitch Griffis, during the loss to the Hokies. His backup, redshirt junior Michael Kern, came in to replace him, but suffered a right shoulder injury on a sack in the fourth quarter. Griffis came back in for Kern and is now the likely starter against Pitt.
The duo expanded on looking at how to stop Wake Forest’s offense, including their heavy use of a run-pass option (RPO) scheme. Narduzzi believes that if his defense steps up, makes some sacks and get Wake Forest out of what they like to do, they’ll have success on Saturday.
Narduzzi also praised redshirt senior defensive back M.J. Devonshire on his pick-six against the Cardinals, the longest pick-six in program history since Chiffon Allen took one back 97 yards on Sept. 13, 1997 against Houston.