Dayon Hayes was nearly unguardable against Boston College over the weekend, and the ACC took notice of the dominant Pitt defensive effort.
Hayes was announced as the ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week for his efforts in a 24-16 win against Boston College Saturday afternoon, making life difficult for Eagles quarterback Thomas Castellanos all day.
It’s the second time a Pitt player has earned ACC Team of the Week honors, following M.J. Devonshire earning Defensive Back of the Week in a win against Louisville.
🏆 ACC DL of the Week 🏆
Dayon Hayes » @DayonHayes00
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) November 20, 2023
“It felt good,” Hayes said following the win. “It took forever, I was in a drought lately, but it felt good to get that quarterback.”
He finished the night with six tackles (five solo), three tackles for loss, two sacks, two pass breakups and a quarterback hit — and it may be just the launchpad he needs for one more season. Does Hayes have unfinished business at Pitt?
“Yeah, I do,” he said with a grin. “I ain’t leaving yet.”
Pat Narduzzi and the defensive coaching staff will certainly welcome Hayes back next season, able to form a starting duo with Samuel Okunlola (who recorded a sack himself Thursday night, one of six team sacks), and it should be one of the strengths of the defense. Hayes was certainly a strength against Boston College.
“Dayon had a good game,” Narduzzi said following the win. “When you get a chance, I think we had a few sacks. I don’t know how many sacks we had. Six sacks.
“Again, it’s hard to get sacks when they have 66 rushes, but we were able to get to the quarterback and early in the game, and that was good. I think we had three early in the first or second quarter. Those were critical.”
Hayes now has 40 tackles (23 solo), 9.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, a forced fumble, four pass breakups and a lot of pressures, hurries and quarterback hits despite the low sack totals. Hayes has been better than his individual statistics indicate this season, and he has one more game this season to improve upon those. And he’s coming off his best game — from a production standpoint — in quite some time.