It started as a rout and ended up just as a victory. Nonetheless, Pitt defeated the visiting Louisville Cardinals 45-34 at Heinz Field yesterday in Pittsburgh.
As has been the case all season, Pitt’s defense gave up huge plays and had multiple breakdowns but held on to win in a game that shouldn’t have been as close as it ended.
The game started by both teams trading punts. Louisville redshirt sophomore QB Kyle Bolin got things going early and connected with WR Jamari Staples for 9 and 19 yards.
After QB Reggie Bonnafon was stopped for a 2 yard loss, redshirt junior running back Brandon Radcliff was also stopped for no gain. The series resulted in a redshirt senior John Wallace 32 yard field goal. Louisville 3 Pitt 0.
Pitt had an immediate answer.
Panther graduate transfer QB Nate Peterman first threw a strike to junior TE Scott Orndoff for 15 yards. Junior QB Chad Voytik, last season’s starter, then ran for 2 yards before giving way to the game’s MVP – Qadree Ollison.
Ollison ran tough for gains of 2 and 7 yards. This set up a 3rd down and 1 at the Louisville 37 yard line when Pitt superstar junior WR Tyler Boyd took a jet sweep handoff 24 yards for the first down.
Ollison tacked on another yard then Peterman connected with Pitt true freshman two-way player Jordan Whitehead for 10 yards. It took two more attempts, but Ollison punched it in. Pitt 7 Louisville 3.
The Pitt defense then broke down again.
The Panther special teams didn’t help any by allowing Cardinal freshman WR / KR Traveon Samuel return the kickoff 41 yards.
After Bonnafon ran for it for 1 yard, Bolin connected with TE Cole Hikutini for 22 yards before tossing the easy 29 yard TD strike to Keith Towbridge. Another busted coverage by the Pitt secondary helped the Cardinals take the lead, 10-7. It took only 4 plays and minute and 12 seconds off the clock.
The two teams then traded punts once again but Louisville’s punt was...
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