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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

Preview | Pitt football gets ready for critical ACC game against Wake Forest

Pitts+football+team+and+head+coach+Pat+Narduzzi+run+onto+the+field+for+the+first+game+of+the+season+against+Wofford+at+Acrisure+Stadium+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+2.+
Ethan Shulman | Visual Editor
Pitt’s football team and head coach Pat Narduzzi run onto the field for the first game of the season against Wofford at Acrisure Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2.

Pitt football’s massive upset against Louisville last Saturday created optimism amongst Pitt fans as the Panthers ended their four-game losing streak against the No. 14 team in the nation.

The Panthers (2-4, 1-2 ACC) will hope to continue their success and potentially make a bowl game, as they travel to North Carolina to take on the Demon Deacons (3-3, 0-3 ACC) this Saturday. Pitt has yet to win a road game this season. Meanwhile, Wake Forest is looking to end their three-game losing streak this weekend. 

Since Pitt joined the ACC in 2013, the team has beaten Wake Forest both times they played. In 2018, Pitt beat Wake Forest on the road 34-13. Then in 2021, in the ACC Championship game, the Panthers beat the Demon Deacons 45-21. 

An important, season-impacting game for both teams is on the line this weekend. Here’s what to watch for in this Saturday’s conference matchup.

Will Pitt redshirt sophomore quarterback Christian Veilleux continue to play solid football? 

In last Saturday’s game, redshirt sophomore quarterback Christian Veilleux provided a new look for this Pitt offense. He made his first game start, proving that he was able to make crucial deep throw passes to win the game — something that former quarterback Phil Jurkovec was not often able to do. 

Veilleux threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Towards the end of the first half, he hit redshirt senior wide receiver Bub Means 46 yards downfield, which helped give Pitt momentum for the rest of the game. 

The redshirt sophomore played solid football in his first start and will need to continue this and manage the game effectively. Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi praised Veilleux in a press conference on Monday.

“Christian threw some nice balls,” Narduzzi said. “He got the ball out quick as well. He made good decisions with the ball.” 

Despite playing a solid game, Veilleux does need to work on his accuracy. In the game against Louisville, he completed just 12 of 26 passes. 

But he will face a major test against the Demon Deacons’ secondary, which is the best aspect of Wake Forest’s defense. The Demon Deacons are only giving up 359 yards per game.

Veilleux needs to continue to make explosive plays for his offense in order to spark this Panther team against Wake Forest.

Will Pitt’s defense capitalize on Wake Forest’s offensive miscues? 

Wake Forest has given up 14 turnovers in six games, including three last week against Virginia Tech. The Demon Deacons continue to struggle to find answers on offense. 

Wake Forest’s head coach Dave Clawson said he’s disappointed with his team’s offensive woes.

Right now, we’re not on the offensive side of the football,” Clawson said. “It bothers us and bothers our football players. And I’m sure the fans find it frustrating.” 

Pitt’s defense needs to capitalize on common miscues from Wake Forest’s offense, which is something it is fully capable of. Last weekend, Pitt cornerbacks M.J Devonshire and A.J. Woods forced two turnovers. This included a pick-six from Devonshire for an 86-yard return. 

With Wake Forest having issues controlling turnovers, Pitt’s secondary needs to read the miscommunications and use them to their advantage. 

How will Wake Forest handle its quarterback situation?

A key headline going into this game is the quarterback situation for Wake Forest. The team has struggled to figure out who their starter is for the quarterback position. 

Wake Forest benched redshirt sophomore quarterback Mitch Griffis last Saturday against Virginia Tech after an overall poor performance this season. Redshirt junior quarterback Michael Kern came in to replace Griffis but left the game in the fourth quarter due to a shoulder injury. 

However, Clawson has reportedly decided to play Griffis again this weekend against Pitt. 

One issue with Griffis the Panthers can exploit is his weak pocket presence. Griffis was sacked eight times in the last three games. Meanwhile, the Panthers sacked Louisville senior quarterback Jack Plummer four times last game — they need to pressure Griffis in the same manner. 

Prediction: Pitt will keep the momentum rolling, beating Wake Forest 21-7

Although Wake Forest has a better record, I predict Pitt will still win this game by two touchdowns. Pitt’s defense is playing at a high level, which will impact Wake Forest’s scoring ability. 

Although Pitt’s offense struggled the last few weeks, I think that the defense will hold Wake Forest from scoring, especially since the defensive front is playing consistently, particularly against the run. 

Pitt and Wake Forest will kick off on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Coverage will air on the ACC Network. 

About the Contributor
Lily Peters, Staff Writer
Lily Peters is a sports staff writer for The Pitt News. She is a part of the College of General Studies class of 2027 and is majoring in Media and Professional Communications. Additionally, she is pursuing a certificate in Television and Broadcast Arts.