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Pitt Travels to Notre Dame to Take on No. 5 Irish
(Pitt lost its leading tackler, Quintin Wirinis to a season-ending injury in practice Tuesday. Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)
The Panthers are coming off a 44-37 come-from-behind win in overtime over Syracuse, while Notre Dame picked up a 45-23 win at Virginia Tech.
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The Irish are starting to have dreams of the College Football Playoffs and don’t want a let up against an up-and-down Pitt squad.
Notre Dame has a strong, balanced offense that averages 34.8 points per game and 441.7 yards per contest which includes 195.7 on the ground.
Ian Book has emerged as the starting quarterback and is completing 73.3 percent of his passes (77 of 105) for 887 yards, nine touchdowns and one interception. He has added three touchdowns on the ground.
Miles Boykin (28 catches, 428 yards, 3 TDs), Chris Finke (19 catches, 243 yards, 1 TD), Alize Mack (19 catches, 209 yards, 1 TD) and Chase Claypool (18 catches, 200 yards, 2 TDs) give the Irish plenty of weapons in the passing game.
Dexter Williams (339 yards, 4 TDs), Tony Jones Jr. (245 yards, 3 TDs) and Jafar Armstrong (245 yards, 5 TDs) are keys to the run game.
On defense, Te’von Coney (48 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception) leads a group that allows 19.5 points per game and 357.3 yards per contest.
Pitt has seemingly become a run-only squad, which could be a problem against a Notre Dame defense that allows just 127.8 yards per game on the ground.
In the win over Syracuse, the Panthers completed just 11 passes and they haven’t had a 200-yard passing game all season.
On the other hand, Pitt ran for 265 yards in the win, the fourth time this season the Panthers have rushed for at least 200 yards as a team.
Qadree Ollison (596 yards, 5 TDs) and Darrin Hall (314 yards, 4 TDs) lead that ground game.
Kenny Pickett has been up-and-down on the season with the sophomore going 87 of 142 for 880 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions.
His top receivers are Taysir Mack (12 catches, 265 yards), Maurice Ffrench (16 catches, 204 yards, 2 TDs) and Rafael Araujo-Lopez (13 catches, 167 yards, 3 TDs).
Pitt’s defense is giving up nearly 33 points per game and nearly 421 yards per contest. To add to its woes, leading tackler Quintin Wirginis (41 tackles, 3 sacks) was lost to a season-ending knee injury in practice Tuesday.
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