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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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First-year guard Aaryn Battle (1) dribbles the ball during Thursday evening’s game against Wake Forest in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt women’s basketball falls back into their old habits, fall to Wake Forest 65-50
By Sara Meyer, Staff Writer • 9:10 am

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First-year guard Aaryn Battle (1) dribbles the ball during Thursday evening’s game against Wake Forest in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt women’s basketball falls back into their old habits, fall to Wake Forest 65-50
By Sara Meyer, Staff Writer • 9:10 am

Pitt football pulls off an upset, defeats No. 14 Louisville 38-21

Redshirt+Senior+M.J.+Devonshire+%2812%29+and+Junior+Phillip+OBrien+Jr.+%285%29+celebrate+in+front+of+the+Panther+Pit+during+Saturday+nights+game+against+Louisville+at+Acrisure+Stadium.
Lucas Zheng | Senior Staff Photographer
Redshirt Senior M.J. Devonshire (12) and Junior Phillip O’Brien Jr. (5) celebrate in front of the Panther Pit during Saturday night’s game against Louisville at Acrisure Stadium.

Pitt football (2-4, ACC 1-2) snapped their losing streak and spoiled No. 14 Louisville’s undefeated season at Acrisure Stadium on Saturday night, beating the Cardinals 38-21. The Panthers dominated in the second half of the game, scoring 24 unanswered points — including a momentum-shifting 86-yard pick-six by senior cornerback M.J. Devonshire.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Christian Veilleux made his debut as a starter, following head coach Pat Narduzzi’s decision to bench redshirt senior quarterback Phil Jurkovec during the bye week. Vielleux took a few drives to find a rhythm but eventually settled into his new role. He finished the game with 200 passing yards, 22 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Offensive miscues killed Pitt’s opening drive before it even started. On the second play from scrimmage, Veilleux fumbled the snap but managed to jump on the ball for a loss of 15 yards. Veilleux proceeded to throw an incomplete pass on third down, forcing Pitt to punt the ball away.

Louisville started their drive on Pitt’s 40-yard line and took full advantage of their excellent field position. Senior quarterback Jack Plummer made quick work of Pitt’s defense, finishing off the drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Chris Bell.

After floundering for their first three possessions, Pitt’s offense finally came to life at the end of the first quarter. Junior running back Rodney Hammond Jr. rushed for 18 yards giving the Panthers their first first-down of the game. On the next play, Veilleux took a deep shot, connecting with senior wide receiver Bub Means on a 54-yard touchdown pass.

Veilleux said the touchdown pass to Means gave him a boost of confidence and helped him settle into the offense.

“I’m pretty sure I didn’t have a completion before that. I was just missing throws. Being too antsy,” Veilleux said. “Getting that throw off settled me down and I was ready to roll.”

Louisville quickly responded with a touchdown drive on their next possession. Officials flagged Devonshire for interfering with Louisville receiver Jamari Thrash in the end zone, putting the Cardinals on the two-yard line. Senior running back Isaac Guerendo found the end zone two plays later, giving Louisville a 14-7 lead.

With ten minutes left in the half, Louisville looked ready to extend their lead before Pitt’s defense forced their drive to a grinding halt. Pitt first-year defensive end Samuel Okunlola sacked Plummer and forced a fumble, which the Panthers recovered on their own 29-yard line.

Pitt capitalized on the turnover by putting together another scoring drive. Veilleux found first-year wide receiver Kenny Johnson on a deep ball along the right sideline, gaining 34 yards and putting the Panthers inside the Cardinals’ 20. Redshirt senior running back C’Bo Flemister capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run.

Louisville got the ball back with less than two minutes in the half and answered with another touchdown. Pitt’s defense got in their own way again by incurring another pass interference penalty  — this time committed by junior free safety Phillip O’Brien Jr. The Panthers went into the locker room at halftime down 21-14.

Pitt’s defense tightened up at the beginning of the second half, quickly forcing a turnover on downs and setting up Pitt’s offense in Cardinals’ territory. Junior kicker Ben Sauls hammered in a 46-yard field goal, decreasing Louisville’s lead to four. 

The defense maintained the pressure on Louisville’s offense. Junior linebacker Solomon Deshields sacked Plummer for an eleven-yard loss, forcing Louisville to punt. 

With the Cardinals’ offense stalling, the Panthers started to pick up momentum. On their next possession, Pitt drove 61 yards down the field on 13 plays, consuming nearly seven minutes of clock in the process. Fleimester finished off the drive with another short touchdown run, giving the Panthers their first lead of the game.

Louisville looked ready to reclaim the lead on their next possession when Pitt’s defense completely shifted the momentum of the game. With the clock winding down in the third quarter, Devonshire intercepted Plummer’s pass and ran 86 yards the other way into Louisville’s endzone. Pitt went into the fourth quarter leading by ten points.

Attempting to bounce back after this momentum shift, Louisville drove to Pitt’s 24-yard line before Plummer threw another costly interception directly into the arms of redshirt senior A.J. Woods. 

Narduzzi commended the defense for winning the turnover battle and shutting down Louisville’s offense in the second half.

“Defense was outstanding. They bent but didn’t break,” Narduzzi said. “Three turnovers plus four fourth-down stops — that’s like seven turnovers in my opinion.”

Pitt’s offense, however, had one final statement to make before sending Louisville home. With a little over three minutes left in the game, Veilleux connected with junior wide receiver Konata Mumpfield on a 31-yard touchdown pass — effectively putting the game out of reach.

While Pitt stunned the crowd at Acrisure Stadium by beating an undefeated Louisville team, Narduzzi said he never doubted his team would get the job done.

“I told our guys all week we were going to win this football game, period,” Narduzzi said. “We needed that in a bad way.”

The Panthers will go on the road on Saturday, Oct. 21, for a game against Wake Forest. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m., and coverage will air on ACC Network.

About the Contributor
Ben Pisano, Staff Writer