Pat Narduzzi finally has his signature win at Pitt.
The No. 23 Panthers knocked off Clemson 27-17 at Heinz Field on Saturday to improve to 6-1 on the season. However, Narduzzi felt like his team could have come away with a more decisive win.
“Couldn’t be prouder of our football team just going out there and playing like they did,” he said. “That’s a good football team that they beat today. Probably should have beat them by another 14, to be honest with you. There were some critical errors.”
“Our kids played hard, played tough. They had too many penalties again, for whatever reason. Just proud of our football team. Love those guys in there. They fight. Just fired up. Signature win for Pitt. We talked about that. They got it done. A lot of big plays.”
Make no mistake, despite Clemson being down, this was a big win for the Panthers and Narduzzi gave all the credit to the guys on the field.
“It’s a big game for our kids,” Narduzzi said. “I didn’t make one tackle, I didn’t make a catch, I didn’t make a block. It’s about our kids. They make the plays. I didn’t do anything out there. Just bring all the dogs out in the fight. Again, it’s all about the players. Players make plays. Coaches coach, players play. Our kids are out there playing their tails off and having fun.”
Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett really started to settle in late in the second quarter after getting off to a slow start. The fifth-year senior finished the day with over 300 passing yards and two touchdowns and Narduzzi reaped praise on his offensive line.
“The O-line, it starts up front with those guys, and the D-line for that matter, the head coach said. “Can’t say enough about them. (Offensive line) Coach Borbley has done a heck of a job coaching those guys up, protecting the quarterback. Kenny didn’t get hit very often. If he did, it is because he wanted to. He likes to get hit, too. But the O-line has done a nice job.”
With Pitt clinging to a seven point lead early in the third quarter, D.J. UIagalelei had a shovel pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown and Narduzzi said that was the play that was the turning point for his team.
“I would say when SirVocea (Dennis) intercepted that shovel pass for a touchdown, there was a little momentum there, a big-time play,” he said. “Put their quarterback on the bench. That was a turning point, I think.”
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