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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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A portrait of Chancellor Joan Gabel.
Senate Council holds final meeting of semester, recaps recent events
By Anna Kuntz, Senior Staff Writer • May 14, 2024
Column | A thank you to student journalists
By Betul Tuncer, Editor-in-Chief • April 27, 2024

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A portrait of Chancellor Joan Gabel.
Senate Council holds final meeting of semester, recaps recent events
By Anna Kuntz, Senior Staff Writer • May 14, 2024
Column | A thank you to student journalists
By Betul Tuncer, Editor-in-Chief • April 27, 2024

Pitt football shows off quarterback depth, new look defense in 2024 Blue-Gold Spring Game

Coach+Pat+Narduzzi+speaks+to+his+players+after+the+Pitt+football+Blue-Gold+Spring+Game+on+Saturday+afternoon+at+Acrisure+Stadium.
Bronco York | Senior Staff Photographer
Coach Pat Narduzzi speaks to his players after the Pitt football Blue-Gold Spring Game on Saturday afternoon at Acrisure Stadium.

After a 3-9 outing in its 2023 campaign, Pitt football made many notable changes to its roster and coaching staff this offseason in an effort to get back into the winning column. These changes took center stage at the 2024 Blue-Gold Spring Game on Saturday afternoon and left fans with lots to think about heading into next season. 

Nate Yarnell will win the starting quarterback job 

After half of a spring football game, it was clear which Pitt quarterback would reign victorious over this year’s competition for the starting job. 

By no means did first-year quarterback Eli Holstein perform horribly, but any fan could see the obvious chemistry between last year’s third-stringer, junior quarterback Nate Yarnell, and his team. Yarnell went 12 of 16 on the day with 108 yards and a 34-yard touchdown. Holstein, on the other hand, threw 10 of 23 for 128 yards with an interception. Holstein had a touchdown of his own yet struggled to stack up to Yarnell’s in-game experience from last season. 

The biggest highlight from the Alabama transfer’s debut came in the second quarter when Holstein drove down the field in a two-minute drill to get the Gold team in the end zone before the half. 

Promising Panthers shine in skill positions 

On the offensive side of the ball, skill players showed out for both teams. Senior tight end Gavin Bartholomew had himself a day, connecting on multiple occasions with Holstein and notching 122 receiving yards and a touchdown during his limited playtime. 

Sophomore receiver Kenny Johnson also had a solid performance for the Gold team, netting 77 yards and a touchdown. 

For the Blue group, junior running back Desmond Reid and first-year receiver Zion Fowler-El both passed the eye test, each bearing reputable games and giving Pitt fans entertainment to look forward to. 

Pitt’s defense looks strong 

Defenses always have a disadvantage in the context of a spring game. Lack of chemistry and communication greatly affect the performance on the opposing side of the ball. Despite this, both sets of 11 played great games on Saturday. 

For the Blue team, junior defensive back Javon McIntyre came up with an interception — the only turnover of the game. Sophomore linebacker Rasheem Biles led the game with seven tackles, including a sack, two tackles for a loss of yards and a pass breakup. 

In the first half of play, the Gold defense held the Blue offense to only three points and a one-for-five completion rate on third down. 

Star senior defensive back Donovan McMillon, sophomore linebacker Kyle Louis and redshirt senior defensive lineman Dayon Hayes each totaled a team-high five tackles. Hayes was stellar, recording a tackle for a 16-yard loss as well as a forced fumble. 

One caveat to the defensive performance is that the refs got a workout with all of the flag-throwing, but this is not something for fans to stress about, as the Panthers can easily clean this up come August. 

Overall, the game was not entirely entertaining or surprising. There are many pieces that need to come together for Pitt to compete in the ACC next season, but there is most definitely hope for fans of the Blue and Gold.

About the Contributor
Aidan Kasner, Staff Writer
Aidan Kasner is a first-year student studying Media and Professional Communications.