PITTSBURGH — Pitt will hope that the third time’s the charm this season. At least, when it comes to quarterbacks.
Nate Yarnell will receive his first start of the 2023 season, and his first since a start against West Michigan on the road last season, after taking the majority of reps in warmups ahead of the matchup against Boston College. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Noah Hiles first reported the news.
It comes after Pat Narduzzi said earlier this week that he may not who the starting quarterback would be until perhaps right before kickoff.
Yarnell is the third Pitt quarterback to start a game this season, with Veilleux and Phil Jurkovec starting five games apiece this season, and the start comes as the Pitt coaching staff is looking to see what it has at the position going into the 2024 season.
Veilleux completed 13-of-22 pass attempts (59%) for 161 yards with a touchdown and an interception against Syracuse last week, but most of that production came in the first half — and he botched two handoff attempts throughout the second half.
Yarnell was inserted late, with the outcome all but decided considering the flow of the game, and he completed 3-of-5 pass attempts for 48 yards in relief.
It was a dreadful day for the Pitt offense, racking up just 269 yards (60 yards on the ground) and turning the ball over four times. Pitt went 3-of-10 on third down, was out-possessed by nearly 15 minutes and killed any and all of its own momentum in yet another brutal loss.
Pitt is 114th in points per game (19.9) and 117th in total offense (310.5) in college football, and there are only four Power Five schools in each category that have been worse than Pitt this season. The passing offense is a disaster, with a couple of failing quarterbacks trying to run Frank Cignetti Jr.’s offense, and the run game is non-existent. And we don’t know if a new quarterback will fix anything.
“We obviously as coaches have to put them in a better position to make plays,” Narduzzi said. “We didn’t put them in a position to make plays.”
Veilleux has completed 94-of-184 pass attempts (51.1%) for 1,179 yards with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions this season. And after two good starts, the first of his collegiate career, he’s slogged through three rough performances in a row. Yarnell has only played in two games this season, completing 5-of-8 pass attempts (62.5%) for 123 yards with a touchdown.
Yarnell will look to show something in his first extended action of the season, and perhaps, show that Pitt has a quarterback option heading forward into the 2024 season.
Pitt and Boston College are scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m.