top of page

Inside The Numbers: Pitt - Notre Dame

Written by Cade Harper|Writer|Twitter/X: @CadeHarperIT

Photo by Notre Dame Athletics


It is week 9 of the college football season, and the Fighting Irish come off a very well deserved bye week to host the Midwest rival Pittsburgh Panthers. Notre Dame is still rallying off, from two weeks ago, their most dominant win this season against USC. Al Golden seemed to prepare his guys perfectly, as they came out forcing 5 total turnovers vs the former Heisman winner, Caleb Williams. Now, Notre Dame welcomes in to their first 3:30 game in 6 weeks, former Irish backup Quarterback, Phil Jurkovec - who is now transitioned just recently to Tight End. Yes, you read that correctly. So what is Pitt coming into South Bend looking like, and can Notre Dame stay hot off an impressive win?



The Pitt - Notre Dame rivalry goes all the way back to their first meeting in 1909. Since then, Notre Dame leads the series a fair margin between the two 49-21. The most recent meeting between the two teams was just in 2020, when the Irish went into Heinz Field, now known as Acrisure Stadium, and dominated in a 45-3 win. Notre Dame is listed currently as a 20.5 point favorite over Pitt as of Thursday. This coming Saturday, it's projected to be a high of 56 degrees with cloudy conditions, solid football weather if you ask me. With Notre Dame moving up in the rankings this past week just one spot to #14 without even playing, thanks to 2-5 Virginia knocking off formally undefeated #10 North Carolina, I'd say Notre Dame has their swagger back. So what is there exactly to expect from Pat Narduzzi's team?

Photo by The Observer


The Panthers are currently 2-5 with win's over Wofford & Louisville, as frustrating as that is. The Pitt offense has struggled much like Notre Dame's has this season, putting up just 24.6 points per game, compared to the Irish's 38.1 with help from the 48 point USC win. However, the defense is a little more impressive ranking at the 26th spot in total defense, and allowing 321.7 total yards per game. Where Notre Dame shines on the offensive side as far as running the ball, it seems like Pitt may have their hands full allowing 126.4 rushing yards per game which ranks them 45th amongst FBS teams. Notre Dame currently sits at the 50th in the same category, allowing 129.9 rushing yards per game. Thankfully, an impressive week vs USC bumped the pass defensive averages up quite a bit and the Irish now rank 3rd in passing yards allowed (153 yards per game), 4th in pass efficiency, and as far as total defense goes, the Irish sit at 12th. Now as impressive this pass defense is, Notre Dame matches up against the 90th best passing offense team in the country. Jurkovec, a Notre Dame transfer to Boston College who just transferred again to Pitt, hasn't had an impressive year at all by all means. This is likely the reason that Narduzzi benched him and then moved Phil to a TE position. Now that Jurkovec isn't the starting guy this weekend, Pitt has turned to sophomore Canadian, Christian Veilleux. Veilleux has thrown for 647 total yards, 5 TDs, and tossed a pair of INTs so far this season. Last week on the road in Wake Forest, Pitt lost a heartbreaker, but Veilleux threw 302 yards with 2 TDs completing 62% of his 45 total passes. It'll be interesting how Golden prepares the defense without having much info on Veilleux as far as tape goes, but there is truly no doubt in my mind that they should not have an issue on Saturday. Obviously the Irish prefer to have had Jurkovec in the backfield, but Narduzzi ruined the fun in that so I guess we'll take what we can get. I mean after all, for it to be a rivalry, this series is pretty lopsided, but it would make a win that much sweeter if it were Phil Jurkovec under center.



Photo by NBC Sports


After moving up in the rankings, the Irish sit at #14 becoming the 3rd ranked team the Panthers have played thus far on their schedule. Pitt's schedule, from who they have played, have a combined record of an even .500 25-25. One of their two wins comes against a team who has yet to win a single game this season, Wofford. Pitt is currently in a race with Syracuse & Wake Forest, who got their first conference win just last week off of Pitt, to see who can be the worst team in the ACC. I highly doubt this game becomes a challenge for Notre Dame, but we're going to take it one game at a time. I would expect a slow start and a fast strong finish to run away with it. See you Saturday, Go Irish!




Comentarios


Like Our Content?
Enjoyed This Article?
Share Below
The Irish Tribune
The Irish Tribune
Enjoyed This Article?
Share Below
The Irish Tribune
Enjoyed This Article?
Share Below
The Irish Tribune
The Irish Tribune
bottom of page