Game Recap (Football): Pitt vs Rice
By: Jason Earle
The Pittsburgh Panthers roared to a 42-10 victory over the Rice Owls on Saturday to improve their record to 2-3 for the 2017 campaign. The game served as an opportunity for Pitt to bounce back after three consecutive losses, two of which came to teams then ranked in the top ten of the AP Poll.
A major storyline throughout the first five weeks of the season has been Pitt’s quarterback. Max Browne began the season as the preferred starter but lost that role to redshirt sophomore Ben Dinucci in Week 4. However, Dinucci’s subpar performance against Georgia Tech saw Browne enter late in the game. After the week of preparation for Rice, head coach Pat Narduzzi opted to go with the graduate transfer, Browne, for the Week 5 matchup.
This was certainly a decision that paid off as the captain threw as many touchdowns as incompletions, finishing 28 of 32 for 410 yards and 4 TDs. His 48 yard touchdown pass to Chawntez Moss on the opening drive was quickly followed by another score in a 55 yard bomb to a wide open Jester Weah. The Panthers were able to connect on their third drive as well as Qadree Ollison finished a solid drive with a ten yard rushing touchdown. Pitt was very close to putting up a fourth touchdown at the beginning of the second quarter, but Moss fumbled on Rice’s 2 yard line. The power back found a way to make up for the turnover, however, responding about ten minutes later with a one yard touchdown run for his second score of the game. The half ended in a 28-0 Panther advantage. The Owls, meanwhile, punted seven times in the first half and threw an interception to Damar Hamlin to finish the second quarter.
Pittsburgh entered the second half without the same spark from the first, allowing 10 unanswered points to Rice on a 23 yard field goal from Haden Tobola and a 70 yard touchdown pass from Jackson Tyner to Austin Walter. That was all Rice was able to manage for the rest of the contest as Pitt responded with a one yard touchdown pass from Browne to Darrin Hall. Shortly afterward, Dane Jackson picked off Tyner in a turnover that led to a seven yard touchdown pass from Browne to Chris Clark. Dennis Briggs also tallied an interception late in the game, and Pitt ran out the clock, accepting the 42-10 victory.
Pitt travels to Syracuse on Saturday to take on the 2-3 Orange. Both teams will look to post their first ACC wins of the season.