The Pitt Panthers have seen some growing pains this year with the youth on this team having to take the ball and run with it because of a brutal combination of Injuries and Suspensions this season. That combo has forced their underclassmen to step up and Although Pitt jumped out to a shaky start, they have an opportunity to completely right the ship tonight. A win over Carolina and the Panthers are sitting at .500 with an opportunity to still capture a winning season.
That winning season would have to include two straight wins after tonight against a highly ranked Miami team and a ranked Virginia Tech team. Both would be tall tasks, but neither game will be important if they do not win tonight.
Pitt has seen their quarterback position solidify itself for the most part with Ben DiNucci guiding the Panthers to a couple of wins in a row. But make no mistakes, this team lives and dies by the run and if they can not run then they will struggle. With the emergence of Darrin Hall, the Panthers find themselves in a position of strength again at running back.
The defense has also seen itself get better as their secondary has stiffened with the youth movement. Pitt has received huge contributions from Dane Jackson, Jason Pinnock and Damar Hamlin. All sophomore and freshman, it is easy to see why the future is bright for this group. Combined with Jordan Whitehead, this secondary is getting better and could be one of best in the conference next season as we look ahead.
The Panthers lost corner Avonte Maddox a couple of weeks ago due to injury and it looks as if they will get him back tonight. Pitt will also see Junior starting defensive lineman Dewayne Hendrix back tonight from injury. Coach commented yesterday that they are as healthy right now as you can hope for come week 10. Which is good news with the their biggest games ahead of them.
The Tarheels come into this game with a 6 game losing streak, sitting at 1-8. Although they gave Miami all they could handle last week. Prior to that close Miami game, they were blown away by Virginia Tech by nearly 50 points. Last year, North Carolina was led by a couple of talented seniors on offense at quarterback and wide receiver. This year, winning has been a struggle with all the turnover.
Pitt is a 9.5 point favorite tonight and it will be cold and wet during the game. I expect Pitt to cover tonight with a final score of 35-10. I would expect Darrin Hall to run wild with a 150 yard + game and Ben DiNucci will kick in a couple of longer runs. This will be another one of Pitt’s better games of the season