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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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Chris Matthews poses for a photo at the Global Hub in Posvar Hall.
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Christain Veilleux throws four picks in Pitt football’s 58-7 loss to No. 14 Notre Dame

Pittsburghs+Gavin+Bartholomew+%2886%29+is+tripped+by+Virginia+Tech+defender+Derrick+Canteen+%2813%29+during+the+second+half+of+an+NCAA+college+football+game+Saturday%2C+Sept.+30%2C+2023%2C+in+Blacksburg%2C+Va.
(Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)
Pittsburgh’s Gavin Bartholomew (86) is tripped by Virginia Tech defender Derrick Canteen (13) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023, in Blacksburg, Va.

Pitt football (2-5, ACC 1-3) took on No. 14 Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana on Saturday afternoon. But the Panthers ultimately fell to the Fighting Irish 58-7. The Panthers’ offense was plagued by turnovers at the hands of redshirt sophomore quarterback Christian Veilleux, as Notre Dame’s defense capitalized on the unprepared Panthers. 

Notre Dame redshirt senior Sam Hartman and the Fighting Irish started out strong on their opening drive, with junior running back Audric Estime picking up yardage and Hartman making connections with short passes to the outside for some substantial gains. 

But the Fighting Irish’s drive was interrupted when Panthers defensive back Phillip O’Brien Jr. came up big with an interception. But the turnaround was short-lived, as Pitt’s offense didn’t capitalize on the advantageous field position, getting shut down by the Notre Dame defense with a quick three and out. 

From there, Notre Dame’s special teams showed out, as senior wide receiver Chris Tyree ran back an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown putting the Fighting Irish on the board first. 

Pitt’s offense yet again came up short, allowing the Notre Dame offense to get back on the field after another failed drive. Hartman connected with Tyree, who made a big catch for 47 yards. Tyree’s efforts set up Notre Dame for what looked like a great opportunity to cash in on some points. 

But yet again, Pitt’s defense shut down the Fighting Irish, as redshirt senior Brandon George swept in with an interception in the red zone. Pitt suffered a false start penalty following the interception and yet again couldn’t convert when needed, putting the defense back on the field. 

The first quarter ended 7-0 for Notre Dame with a lot of back-and-forth possessions between both teams and no amazing performances from either offense. 

Early into the second quarter, Notre Dame went for a fourth down opportunity. But Hartman threw an incomplete pass, setting up the Pitt offense with good field position. 

The Panthers converted one first down only for Veilleux to throw an interception to Notre Dame senior safety Xavier Watts. 

The Fighting Irish capitalized on this big defensive play, finishing the drive with a rushing touchdown by Estime. 

The Pitt offense finally started to pick up late into the second quarter, setting kicker Ben Sauls up for a missed 45-yard field goal attempt. 

At the end of the first half, Veilleux threw a second interception to Watts. Once on offense, Notre Dame received an offensive pass interference call, which backed the Fighting Irish up and halted their efforts to score a late touchdown. This ultimately resulted in a successful field goal from Notre Dame redshirt senior kicker Spencer Shrader, concluding the half at 17-0. 

The turmoil only continued for the Panthers in the second half. Pitt opened up slowly again, getting one first-down conversion and then punting it away to the Irish. Notre Dame responded with a quick drive down the field, finishing up with a rushing touchdown by sophomore Jadarian Price. 

The turnovers continued as Pitt’s offense came back on the field. Veilleux attempted to force a ball downfield, but Notre Dame sophomore cornerback Jaden Mickey picked it off and returned it for a touchdown to give Notre Dame a 31-0 lead. 

Not even a minute later, Veilleux was picked off again, as Notre Dame first-year cornerback Christain Gray came down with the interception.

Pitt redshirt senior MJ Devonshire Jr. then muffed a punt, which gave Notre Dame yet another touchdown at the expense of Pitt’s mistakes. A few drives later, the Irish scored again, as Estime earned his second rushing touchdown of the game. The third quarter finished out 44-0.

Notre Dame opened up the fourth quarter with one more touchdown from Estime. Redshirt sophomore Nate Yarnell replaced Veilleux for the Panthers at quarterback. Yarnell helped Pitt finally put some points on the scoreboard, throwing a touchdown to junior wide receiver Konata Mumpfield, with about eight minutes left in the game. But Notre Dame scored once again with under five minutes in playing time. 

Veilleux just couldn’t hold up against the Fighting Irish defense, throwing four interceptions throughout the duration of the game. 

Estime had a great game for Notre Dame’s offense with 19 carries, 114 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns.

Next weekend the Panthers take on ACC leader Florida State on Nov. 4 at Acrisure Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.

About the Contributor
Camille de Jesus, Staff Writer