Pitt rides momentum from upset win into matchup with Wake

Pitt made a quarterback change and it worked out, at least for the short term.

Wake Forest might go down that path.

The teams meet Saturday at Winston-Salem, N.C., looking for upticks as they begin the second half of their schedules.

Pitt (2-4, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) has tried something new, and that could be a winning formula after a dismal opening month of the season.

“We talk about playing together and staying together,” Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi said. “That’s who our guys are. Gave us a little fuel for the second half of the season.”

Christian Veilleux is the new first-string quarterback and he threw for two touchdowns as the Panthers beat then-No. 14 Louisville 38-21 on Saturday. The victory snapped Pitt’s four-game skid.

Veilleux, a transfer from Penn State, completed 12 of 26 passes for 200 yards in his first career start.

“He made plays when needed to. Our receivers made plays,” Narduzzi said. “Our offensive line did a great job, did a good job protecting him.”

Wake Forest (3-3, 0-3) will try to avoid its first four-game losing streak in a single season since 2015.

“I know our locker room and I know our team,” Wake Forest receiver Taylor Morin said. “We’re going to fight.”

That could come with a new starting quarterback, though more on that topic probably won’t be clear until later in the week.

Wake Forest starting QB Mitch Griffis was pulled during the Demon Deacons’ 30-13 loss to Virginia Tech last week. Michael Kern, who left late in the game with an injury, came in and didn’t generate much more success, but coach Dave Clawson believed the Demon Deacons needed a spark.

“We’re going to take a hard look at what we’re doing and who we’re doing it with and give our guys a better chance of competing,” Clawson said.

Pitt won the last meeting, beating Wake Forest 45-21 in the ACC championship game in 2021. The Panthers also beat the Demon Deacons 34-13 in Winston-Salem in 2018 in the only other previous matchup.

In the past four seasons, Wake Forest has lost just three games in October — and two of those setbacks have come this year.

The teams have something in common — both have lost road games to Virginia Tech this season. The Panthers are 0-2 in road games.