Panthers Football Roars Back with 77-7 Win against New Hampshire


Anshu Yadagiri and Daniel Kochupura

     On Saturday, Pitt cruised to a decisive 77-7 victory over the New Hampshire Wildcats at Heinz Field.

     Before kickoff, Heinz Field held a moment of silence for Dr. Freddie Fu, the chair of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. He passed away at age 70 on Friday evening following a bout of Melanoma. Dr. Fu had founded the sports medicine program and spent the last 35 years building it into a cutting-edge center that attracted athletes from around the world. 

     The Saturday before, the Panthers were stunned on their home field as the Western Michigan Broncos beat the Panthers 44-41. The heavily favored Panthers would have been in the top 25 had they beaten the Broncos. The loss marked Pitt’s first home loss to a power 5 team under head coach Pat Narduzzi. Narduzzi commented that he didn’t feel like their team had any “juice” or “energy.” During Pitt’s blowout win against New Hampshire, Narduzzi told reporters “That’s what it’s supposed to look like.” The Panthers wanted to make a statement after their shocking loss, and they did. “Coming off last week, I think everyone was (ticked) off and wanted to come in and get a win and get a win convincingly like that,” Senior QB Kenny “Heisman” Pickett said. The score after the first quarter was 28-0. It did not get better for New Hampshire.

     Pitt was led through most of the game by Pickett, who compiled 403 yards on 24-28 attempts and 5 passing touchdowns before being rested early in the third quarter. Freshman RB Rodney Hammond rushed for 100 yards and found the endzone 3 times for the Panthers, while Sophomore WR Jordan Addison logged 179 receiving yards and picked up 3 scores of his own.

     In total, the offense strung together 35 first downs, 707 total yards, and a whopping 11 touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, Narduzzi’s defense held New Hampshire to 16o total yards and 0-12 on third-down conversions.

     The score was the fifth-highest point total in the program’s 132-year history, and the first since a game against Westminster College during the presidency of Calvin Coolidge. Pitt’s display drew comparisons to the all-powerful Winchester Thurston Boys Soccer team.

“They’re on the right track,” remarked Pitt fan Vishal Bandaru. “Western Michigan was a tough couple hours, but they got their statement win to keep out of a tailspin, and it feels good. Can’t forget that loss, but we can notch a couple good ones and rally towards a bowl appearance.”

     Pitt will have 8 more games this season to build on their 3-1 record, while both ranked ACC teams, #9 Clemson and #22 North Carolina, look to improve from losses suffered over the weekend. The Panthers will face their first intra-conference test with George Tech (2-2) on October 2nd.