Breakdowns and analysis for Pitt’s 2022 football schedule


Hannah Wilson | Senior Staff Photographer

Pitt football players pose at practice on Aug. 25 at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

By David Scott, Staff Writer

Starting Sept. 1, Pitt will kick off its 2022 college football season. With West Virginia and ESPN College Gameday in town for week one, the season will start with a bang for the defending ACC champions. 

Sept. 1: Pitt vs. West Virginia

The start of the 2022 college football season kicks off with the renewal of a storied rivalry between Pitt and West Virginia. Last season, the West Virginia Mountaineers finished with a 6-7 record. They’re led by transfer quarterback JT Daniels, who played in five games for Georgia in 2021.

Sept. 10: Pitt vs. Tennessee

After beating the Volunteers 41-34 last year in Knoxville, the Johnny Major’s Classic heads to Pittsburgh this year where the Panthers will look to once again defeat their SEC opponent.

Tennessee boasts an impressive receiving core, but do not have the luxury of playing the Panthers at home this season. They will look to minimize on quarterback mistakes and test Pitt’s strength in the secondary this season. 

Sept. 17: Pitt @ Western Michigan

Revenge game alert. A lot of Panthers players will have this matchup circled on their calendars. Pitt took a 44-41 defeat at home against the Broncos for their first loss of 2021.

This year, the Panthers will travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan in an effort to avenge the 2021 loss. The Broncos finished a respectable 9-4 in 2021 and will put up a solid fight, despite being a non-Power Five team. 

Sept. 24: Pitt vs Rhode Island

This is the inaugural matchup between Pitt and head coach Pat Narduzzi’s alma mater, Rhode Island. It’s the Panthers one FBS matchup of the season, and should look similar to their game against New Hampshire last season, which they won 77-7

Oct. 1: Pitt vs. Georgia Tech

Last year, Pitt stomped Georgia Tech 52-21 thanks to a 389 yard, four touchdown game from quarterback Kenny Pickett. Georgia Tech finished 3-9 last season and second to last in the ACC. Pitt leads the all-time series 11-5 and have won the last four matchups. This year’s matchup is lined up to be a continuation of the norm, with the Yellow Jackets projected to finish second to last again.

Oct. 8: Pitt vs Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech had no answer for the Panther defense last year, being suffocated in a 28-7 loss at home. The Hokies struggled last season, going 6-6 but they are projected to get worse and already had one of the ACC’s lowest scoring offenses. They will need to rely on their defense against the Panther’s high-powered offense to have any chance at victory in Pittsburgh.

Oct. 22: Pitt @ Louisville

Perhaps the first major challenge for Pitt’s defense in 2022 comes against Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham on the road. The senior is the second coming of Lamar Jackson and poses a major threat to any opponent. Last season he threw for 2,941 yards with 19 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also rushed for 1,031 yards and 20 touchdowns.

The Panthers were able to contain him in 2020, holding the star QB to only 107 yards passing and 13 yards rushing, while intercepting him three times. Pitt will need a similarly dominant defensive performance this year to beat the Cardinals.

Oct. 29: Pitt @ UNC

Pitt won 30-23 in the pouring rain at home in last year’s game against UNC. This year the matchup moves to North Carolina where the Tar Heels will look for revenge after last year’s defeat.

UNC finished 6-7 in 2021 and lost star quarterback Sam Howell to the NFL draft. Their outlook for the 2022 season is hazy and a lot of experts can’t agree on their potential for the year. Still, they are consistently a tough win for the Panthers, and should prove to maintain that reputation this season.

Nov. 5: Pitt vs. Syracuse

The Panthers took care of business against the Orange last year, winning 31-14 inside the Carrier Dome. The matchup heads to Pittsburgh this season where the Panthers will look to contain junior running back Sean Tucker.

Tucker is an incredible talent, ranked as the No. 15 player in all of college football by ESPN this year. Last season he rushed for 1,496 yards and 12 touchdowns, adding 255 yards and two touchdowns receiving. Despite his production, the stout Panthers defense completely shut him down in their matchup, holding him to 29 rushing yards on 13 attempts.

Nov. 12: Pitt @ UVA

Pitt defeated UVA 48-38 to clinch a spot in the ACC championship game in 2021. This year holds another late season matchup, this time down in Charlottesville. UVA finished the 2021 campaign 6-6, but were still in contention for the ACC Coastal title late in the season.

UVA senior quarterback Brennan Armstrong could be a potential Heisman candidate in 2022. He threw for 4,449 yards with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last year. Against the Panthers he put up 487 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. He has a strong arm that will prove a challenge for the Pittsburgh secondary.

Nov. 19: Pitt vs. Duke

In recent years they haven’t been a good football school, which has been on full display against Pittsburgh. The Panthers have won their last six matchups against Duke and 16 of the 25 total games in history.

Last year the Panthers defeated the Blue Devils 54-29 in a relatively uncontested game. The Panthers will look to put together a similar performance at home this season.

Nov. 26: Pitt @ (16) Miami

The Panther’s last game of the regular season could potentially be for the ACC Coastal title. The Miami Hurricanes are the only preseason ranked team that Pitt will play in 2022. The Associated Press ranked Miami No. 16 and Pitt No. 17

The Panthers fell 38-34 home last season, which killed their college football playoff dreams. With projected 2023 NFL first-round pick Tyler Van Dyke leading Miami at quarterback, Pitt senior quarterback Kedon Slovis and the Pitt offense will need to be firing on all cylinders to match the Hurricanes production. Miami has won each of their last four games against the Panthers and 29 of the 41 games they have played all-time.