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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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James Lindsay speaks at an event hosted by Turning Point USA at Pitt on Tuesday evening at Alumni Hall.
Turning Point speaker James Lindsay criticizes ‘queer theory,’ draws protest
By Briana Bindus and Khushi Rai 9:17 am

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James Lindsay speaks at an event hosted by Turning Point USA at Pitt on Tuesday evening at Alumni Hall.
Turning Point speaker James Lindsay criticizes ‘queer theory,’ draws protest
By Briana Bindus and Khushi Rai 9:17 am

Preview | Pitt football looks for an upset against No. 14 Notre Dame

Redshirt+senior+Bub+Means+%280%29+celebrates+after+a+play+during+the+game+on+Saturday%2C+Oct.+14%2C+against+Louisville+at+Acrisure+Stadium.
Pamela Smith | Contributing Editor
Redshirt senior Bub Means (0) celebrates after a play during the game on Saturday, Oct. 14, against Louisville at Acrisure Stadium.

After a devastating loss to Wake Forest last weekend, Pitt (2-5, ACC 1-3) travels to South Bend, Indiana, to take on No. 14. Notre Dame (6-2). This is the 73rd game between these two teams. The Fighting Irish have played particularly well against Pitt, going 50-21-1 against the Panthers. The last game between these two teams took place in 2020 when Notre Dame defeated Pitt 45-3. The last time the Panthers won against the Irish was at home in 2013. 

The Panthers enter the game as heavy underdogs, but are more than capable of pulling off an upset. Pitt was the underdog against No. 14 Louisville two weeks ago, but the Panthers ultimately defeated Louisville 38-21, dispelling everyone’s doubts about their ability to win. 

While Notre Dame does have the upper hand over Pitt, head coach Pat Narduzzi said his team is ready to win. 

“We have to be aggressive,” Narduzzi said. “We are hungry for another win.” 

To come out on top in this game, Pitt needs to provide answers to these key questions. 

Will Pitt quarterback Christian Veilleux overcome a dominant Notre Dame pass defense? 

Notre Dame’s pass defense is one of the best in college football right now. The defense has allowed 153.1 passing yards per game, which ranks the Fighting Irish third in the nation. As a result of its defensive efforts, Notre Dame has held its opponents to an average of 61.4 yards below their season average. 

Pitt redshirt sophomore quarterback Christian Veilleux is developing his skills as the season continues. If he wants to have a chance at scoring against this top defense, he needs to keep executing the passing game well and step it up this week. 

The young quarterback is efficient in the passing game so far. Last Saturday against Wake Forest, he passed for 302 yards, averaging 6.7 yards per pass. For the season, his completion percentage is 53.1%. If Veilleux can make explosive plays off of this Fighting Irish defense, then Pitt has a much better chance of winning this game, despite coming in as the underdogs. 

Can running back C’Bo Flemister expose Notre Dame’s weakness in their run defense? 

If the Fighting Irish have any area of weakness, it’s in their run defense. The defense had tough moments in previous matchups against Louisville and Duke, giving up heavy chunks of yardage on the ground. 

Senior redshirt running back C’Bo Flemister is Pitt’s starting running back this week. With the starting role, Flemister takes a leadership role on this Pitt offense. He has become a true leader and playmaker for the Panthers. Narduzzi said he saw Flemister grow as a leader over the weeks at a press conference on Monday.

“[Flemister] has been playing well the last couple of weeks, and he’s also helping to lead our football team as far as just being a leader,” Narduzzi said. “I think he’s stepped up with the absence of Matt Goncalves. He’s kind of got some natural leadership skills to him.” 

Last weekend, Flemister rushed for 105 yards with a long run for 30 yards. He needs to come up big to create explosive run plays. In total, he has carried the ball 67 times for 279 yards this season. He averages 4.2 yards per attempt and has scored two touchdowns. In the game against Louisville, he made two game-changing plays, rushing for two touchdowns in the red zone. He will need to play well this week against the Fighting Irish’s defensive line to keep Pitt in the game. 

Will Pitt’s defensive front line stop the run?

If there was one thing that Narduzzi stressed at his Thursday press conference, it was that his defensive linemen need to stop the run this Saturday. 

“We need to stop the run first, which we have not proved we can do right now,” Narduzzi said. “We need to be more physical against this physical offensive line. We would like to see our lineman make more defensive plays.” 

For the Pitt defense, this game is the perfect opportunity to get back on track with stopping the run. Notre Dame proves that their run offense is not too strong — in recent games, they have averaged just 3.7 yards per carry, and they have only gone for 109.3 rushing yards in their last three games.

If Pitt wants a chance at preventing Notre Dame from making scores off of the run, the defensive line, especially the guards, needs to stuff the box. It is crucial they play competitively against the Fighting Irish offense. 

Prediction: Notre Dame comes off strong after bye week rest, wins 28-7 against Pitt

Notre Dame is coming off a bye week and is playing at home. The Fighting Irish also have a dominant offense, which is led by NFL draft prospect redshirt senior quarterback Sam Hartman. The Fighting Irish are ultimately playing dominant football this season. 

They will defeat Pitt by at least three scores. The No. 14 football team is playing hot right now, especially since the team’s massive win against USC two weeks ago.

The Panthers are slowly rebuilding their offense, but this isn’t enough to beat the powerful Fighting Irish. This is a true test for Pitt’s young quarterback to continue to prove that he is Pitt’s answer. 

Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday in South Bend, Indiana. Coverage will air on NBC Sports and stream on Peacock.

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.