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Pitt prepares for ACC Championship against Clemson

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Pitt prepares for ACC Championship against Clemson

Nathan Breisinger, Staff Writer

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This weekend’s rematch between the second-ranked Clemson Tigers and Pittsburgh Panthers will be intensified as this time it will be for the ACC crown.

Pitt has recently become known for its upset victories over top-ranked teams.

Last season the Panthers defeated the second-ranked Miami Hurricanes 24-14, in what was otherwise an underwhelming season for Pitt. However, that wasn’t Pitt’s first major upset win under Head Coach Pat Narduzzi, as they had pulled out a 43-42 win in 2016 over Clemson, a team that was en route to a National Championship.

The Panthers will have their hands full on Saturday night as Clemson has the third-ranked offense in the nation and an extremely good defense as well.

The Tigers are led by freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who has been impressive in his first season. Lawrence has thrown for 2,488 passing yards, along with 22 touchdowns and only four interceptions. With the playmaking ability Lawrence has, Pitt’s pass defense will suffer immensely.

Throughout the season the running game has been Pitt’s go-to option. Their two dynamic running backs, seniors Qadree Ollison and Darrin Hall, have combined for over 2,000 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. This running attack, though, will be met by the second-best rushing defense in college football. Pitt’s offensive line will have to be solid for the running game to have a successful day.

Similarly, Clemson has an impressive running back in sophomore Travis Etienne, who has rushed for 1,307 yards and 19 touchdowns. He brings not just impressive stats but also an elusive rushing style that will have the Pitt defensive front working hard to limit his numbers.

For the Panthers to even keep close with the Tigers, they will need to have a solid defensive performance. This season Pitt has done a relatively good job at pressuring the quarterback, which will be an important element for the defense Saturday night.

Ultimately, sophomore quarterback Kenny Pickett will have to have the best performance of his career for the Panthers to win. He will need to make smart decisions and lead the offense for Pitt.

The Tigers are heavily favored over the Panthers, with a line of 27.5 points. For Pitt to pull off another upset, the Panthers will need a lot of things to go right.

About the Writer
Nathan Breisinger, Sports Editor

Sports Editor Nathan is a senior and this is his third year on the Purbalite. He plays hockey and baseball and he can be found watching, listening, or...

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Pitt prepares for ACC Championship against Clemson