Pitt vs. Duke prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Panthers and Blue Devils on Saturday in Pittsburgh, PA.
Pitt vs. Duke Game Preview
When: Saturday, Nov. 19 – 3:00 p.m. ET
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
TV Broadcast: ACC Extra
The Panthers (6-4, 3-3 ACC) are coming off of one of the bigger upsets we have seen this season, as Pat Narduzzi’s squad claimed a 43-42 win over Clemson at Memorial Stadium. Running back James Conner ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns, and Chris Blewitt nailed a 48-yard field goal with six seconds left for the winning margin. The Panthers played the role of spoiler, as the loss put a dent in the Tigers’ College Football Playoff hopes.
Meanwhile, the Blue Devils (4-6, 1-5) pulled off an upset of their own last week, as Daniel Jones ran for two scores and threw for another to help upset North Carolina, 28-27, to claim their first ACC win of the year. David Cutcliffe’s squad has been involved in a lot of close games this season (against Louisville, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech), but it was flirting with its first winless league record since 2007.
When these teams met last season in Durham, Panthers quarterback Nate Peterman tied a career high with three touchdown passes in a 31-13 win. Peterman was 13 of 23 through the air for 180 yards. Qadree Ollison added 111 yards and a one-yard score on the ground for Pitt.
What To Know About Pitt
One week after the Panthers suffered through another poor performance from their secondary in a 51-28 loss to Miami, Narduzzi’s squad overcame Clemson’s 630 total yards to notch a huge road win. It was a really inspired effort by Pitt following the blowout loss to the Hurricanes, especially because it came in as a banged-up squad, particularly on defense. Narduzzi certainly does not like to see his defense perform so poorly, but it was a heck of a coaching job by him of getting his team to regroup after the loss to the ‘Canes. The win was also validation that the program is headed in the right direction under Narduzzi, whose team closes the year with two games at home.
What to Know About Duke
One week after the Blue Devils suffered a tough 24-21 home loss to Virginia Tech and dropped to 1-4 since upsetting Notre Dame, Cutcliffe’s crew received 94 rushing yards from Jones, and Shaun Wilson ran for a game-high 107 yards and a score of his own. Duke finished with 227 yards on the ground and was 10-of-17 on third-down conversions. Defensively, Duke thwarted the Tar Heels’ high-scoring offense, which finished with just 31 yards in the final 15 minutes of the game. It was a big win that should have prepared the Blue Devils for a date this week with a Pitt team that can put up its share of points in bunches.
Offense: Pitt. This is a well-balanced attack, and it’s one of the better ones in the ACC when Peterman plays turnover-free.
Defense: Duke. The Panthers are allowing a whopping 343.4 yards per game through the air.
Special Teams: Even. Both teams have very good kick returners, as Duke’s Wilson and Pitt’s Quadree Henderson could be X-Factors in a close contest.
Coaching: Even. Cutcliffe is the perfect head coach for the Duke program, while Narduzzi is coming off of his signature win with the Panthers.
Intangibles: Even. Both teams are coming off of upset victories over ranked teams.
Matchup To Watch
Peterman vs. Duke secondary
Peterman was impressive last week against the Tigers, especially because he showed a lot of poise against a Clemson pass rush led by Carlos Watkins. He finished 22-of-37 passing for 308 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions. He was also interception-free last year against Duke, which is allowing 224.4 yards per contest through the air. Peterman will be looking to help the Pitt offense finish strong and get into a higher-caliber bowl game.
Spread: Pitt -6.5
Pitt vs. Duke Prediction
Expect the Blue Devils to give a strong effort on the road, but the Panthers will be too much offensively and will pull away in the second half. Pitt’s defense is wounded, so Duke will hang around. But the Blue Devils don’t quite have the same offensive firepower as Pitt.
Pitt vs. Duke Score Prediction: Pitt 38, Duke 30