Game Recap (Football): Pitt vs Duke
By: Andrew Ziemba
In a career day for junior running back Darrin Hall, the Pitt Panthers finally found a conference win against the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday, overcoming a 17-7 defecit in the 3rd quarter. Hall lead a Panthers team, which did struggle occasionally, with a cool 254 yards and three touchdowns, including the longest touchdown run by a Pitt player in a century (92 yards). Hall looked untouchable despite hiding on the depth chart during his 3 seasons on with the program. Though the stats belong to him, his offensive line certainly gave him plenty of room to work with, handling Duke’s top-30 rush defense with ease. Quarterback Ben DiNucci played decently as well, completing 8 of 18 for 149 yards. For the first time this year, Pitt elected to stick with the sophomore throughout the entire game, which proved effective regardless of the low numbers.
Outside of Hall’s impressive showing, the real hero of the day was the Pittsburgh defense. As one of the lowest ranked units in the country, Panther fans did not have high hopes for their team to be able to keep pace with the Blue Devils. The secondary certainly had something to say about that, as the starting four ran a clinic against the Duke receivers. Duke were only able to put solid drives together a handful of times, and Jordan Whitehead had a huge interception in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter to effectively end Duke’s final chance at taking the game back. Looking ahead, coach Pat Narduzzi has a big decision to make, as senior captain Avonte Maddox went down with a brutal arm fracture late in the game, potentially keeping him sidelined for the rest of the year.
- The first half was extremely sloppy, with both teams combining for five punts and three field goals that were either missed or blocked
- Narduzzi’s squad needs to shore up their discipline after accumulating 9 penalties for 88 yards
- Though Darrin Hall’s first start against NC State was lackluster, Pitt should look to keep him as the starter going into a game against a weak defense in the Virginia Cavaliers
- Pitt speedster Quadree Henderson missed time during the contest for an undisclosed injury, but returned late to finish out the game