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Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Pick & Prediction OCT 24TH 2020

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No. 3 Notre Dame will look to stay unbeaten when it visits Pitt on Saturday afternoon at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Notre Dame (4-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) is coming off a 12-7 win over Louisville last weekend in a contest that lacked style points but helped the Fighting Irish climb to their highest ranking of the season.

Meanwhile, Pitt (3-3, 2-3) has dropped three consecutive games in ACC play after starting the season hot. The Panthers are looking to bounce back from a 31-19 loss against then-No. 13 Miami, which followed one-point setbacks to North Carolina State and Boston College, the latter defeat in overtime.

Notre Dame leads the all-time series 49-21-1, including a 19-14 win over Pitt during their last meeting Oct. 13, 2018. Ten of the past 12 games between the programs have been decided by single digits.

Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly said his players still have plenty of room to improve despite their top-three ranking.

"We're going to be a better football team as we continue to grow and develop," he said. "Yeah, this team is nowhere near where it can be and where I think it will be. ...

"We've got to make some plays to be more efficient scoring touchdowns in the red zone. That's playmakers making plays. Then, defensively, we need to get off the field on third down. Those two areas will be areas of great focus moving forward."

A clear strength for Notre Dame so far this season has been the rushing game. Running back Kyren Williams tallied 127 yards last week against Louisville, which marked the Fighting Irish's fifth straight game with a 100-yard rusher.

Fighting Irish quarterback Ian Book passed for only 106 yards a week ago but added 47 yards and a TD on the ground. The graduate senior has passed for 60 career touchdowns, and his next TD toss would break a tie with Jimmy Clausen for third place in program history.

On the opposite sideline, Pitt is waiting to learn who will start under center against Notre Dame.

Quarterback Kenny Pickett did not play last week against Miami because of an ankle injury. He was replaced by redshirt freshman Joey Yellen, an Arizona State transfer who completed 22 of 46 passes for 277 yards and a touchdown. He also absorbed three sacks and lost one of his two fumbles.

Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi has been tight-lipped about who will start at quarterback against Notre Dame.

"We expect Kenny to be back ASAP," he said. "Will he be back this weekend? I don't know. There's a chance."

Yellen said he needed to be better going forward, if given the opportunity.

"All the little things are kind of tough, especially early on, when you haven't played in a little bit," he said. "Sure, there were definitely a few (times against Miami) where I could have gotten rid of it a little earlier and put us in a better spot.

"I have to be a little safer with the ball. If I hit a couple balls that I missed, it's a completely different game."

--Field Level Media

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Pittsburgh Panthers

alignments not yet available

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Pittsburgh Panthers

  • Match Start
  • Period 1
  • MIN 7
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 45 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Alex Kessman
  • MIN 10
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 34 Yards
    • Passer: Ian Book
    • Pass Receiver: Ben Skowronek
    • Conv Kicker: Jonathan Doerer
  • Period 2
  • MIN 0
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Blocked Punt Return
    • 0 Yards
    • Conv Kicker: Jonathan Doerer
    • Blocked Punt Returner: Isaiah Foskey
  • MIN 1
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Rush
    • 2 Yards
    • Rusher: Kyren Williams
    • Conv Kicker: Jonathan Doerer
  • MIN 10
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 73 Yards
    • Pass Receiver: Ben Skowronek
    • Conv Kicker: Jonathan Doerer
    • Passer: Ian Book
  • Period 3
  • MIN 2
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Rush
    • 2 Yards
    • Rusher: C'Bo Flemister
    • Conv Kicker: Jonathan Doerer
  • MIN 4
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 14 Yards
    • Passer: Ian Book
    • Pass Receiver: Michael Mayer
    • Conv Kicker: Jonathan Doerer
  • MIN 7
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 21 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Jonathan Doerer
  • Match End

GAMES

Last 10

W 100% L 0%
9 0
  • @Boston College W 45 - 31
  • Clemson W 40 - 47
  • @Georgia Tech W 31 - 13
  • @Pittsburgh W 45 - 3
  • Louisville W 7 - 12
  • Florida State W 26 - 42
  • @Wake Forest D 0 - 0
  • South Florida W 0 - 52
  • Duke W 13 - 27
  • @Iowa State W 33 - 9
W 60% L 40%
6 4
  • Virginia Tech W 14 - 47
  • @Florida State W 41 - 17
  • Notre Dame L 45 - 3
  • @Miami L 19 - 31
  • @Boston College L 30 - 31
  • NC State L 30 - 29
  • Louisville W 20 - 23
  • Syracuse W 10 - 21
  • Austin Peay W 0 - 55
  • @Eastern Michigan W 34 - 30

Next Games

  • @North Carolina(10-07-17) W 33 - 10
  • @Southern California(11-24-18) W 24 - 17
  • @Clemson(11-12-16) W 43 - 42

Last Meetings

  • Fighting Irish @ Panthers 45-3
  • Panthers @ Fighting Irish 14-19
  • Fighting Irish @ Panthers 42-30
  • Fighting Irish @ Panthers 21-28
  • Panthers @ Fighting Irish 26-29
  • Fighting Irish @ Panthers 15-12
  • Panthers @ Fighting Irish 17-23
  • Fighting Irish @ Panthers 22-27
  • Panthers @ Fighting Irish 36-33

Last Injuries

Pittsburgh Panthers

  • Jared Wayne

    Illness
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Wayne sat out the last game due to COVID-19 protocols, and it is unknown if he will compete against Clemson on Saturday.

  • Jordan Addison

    Illness
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Addison missed the last game due to COVID-19 protocols, and it remains to be seen if he will be cleared to face Clemson on Saturday.

  • Israel Abanikanda

    Illness
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Abanikanda was held out of the last game due to the COVID-19 protocols, and it is unknown if he will be a part of Saturday's game versus Clemson.

  • Keyshon Camp

    Undisclosed
    Prob Sat | probable

    Camp is expected to suit up Saturday against Virginia Tech despite an undefined injury.

  • Todd Sibley Jr.

    Undisclosed
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Sibley Jr. has missed the previous two games due to an undetermined injury, and it remains to be seen if he will be active Saturday against Virginia Tech.

  • Taysir Mack

    Undisclosed
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Mack sat out the last game due to an unspecified ailment, and it is unknown if he will be a participant in Saturday's contest versus Virginia Tech.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

  • Kyren Williams

    Undisclosed
    Prob Fri | probable

    Williams left the last game with an unknown injury, but it is likely that he will play against UNC on Friday.

  • Tommy Kraemer

    Appendix
    Out Fri | out

    Kraemer will not be a participant in Friday's game versus North Carolina after undergoing an appendectomy.

  • C'Bo Flemister

    Leg
    Prob Fri | probable

    Flemister was forced from the last game with a left leg injury, but he is projected to be on the field against UNC on Friday.

  • Braden Lenzy

    Hamstring
    Early Dec | out

    Lenzy is expected to be out until at least the early part of December with a hamstring injury.

  • Jarrett Patterson

    Foot
    out for season | out

    Patterson underwent season-ending surgery on his left foot.

  • Jayson Ademilola

    Knee
    Early Dec | out

    Ademilola had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee, and he is likely to be out of commission until at least the beginning of December.

  • Javon McKinley

    Concussion
    Ques Sat | questionable

    McKinley has passed the league's protocol after displaying concussion-like symptoms, and it is unknown if he will be available for Saturday's matchup against Boston College.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Pittsburgh Panthers

Ian Book passed for 312 yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to wide receiver Ben Skowronek, and No. 3 Notre Dame rolled to a 45-3 win over host Pittsburgh in an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown Saturday afternoon.

Bo Bauer, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Nick McCloud had one interception apiece for Notre Dame (5-0, 4-0), and Isaiah Foskey blocked a punt and scored a touchdown on special teams. All but one of the Fighting Irish's wins have come by double digits.

Pitt (3-4, 2-4) dropped its fourth game in a row. Quarterback Joey Yellen finished 10 of 27 for 101 yards to go along with his three picks.

Notre Dame outgained Pitt 434-162 and controlled time of possession 40:59 to 19:01.

Book moved into second place in Notre Dame history in career touchdown passes, bypassing Jimmy Clausen and Tommy Rees. The senior from California has 63 touchdown passes, which trails only Brady Quinn, who threw 95 touchdowns from 2003-06.

Notre Dame built a 28-3 lead at the half.

The Fighting Irish opened the scoring in the first five minutes as Skowronek hauled in a 34-yard touchdown pass from Book. That marked the wide receiver's first touchdown since transferring from Northwestern.

The Panthers cut the deficit to 7-3 on a 45-yard field goal by Alex Kessman with 7:38 left in the first quarter.

Notre Dame pulled away with three touchdowns in the second quarter to build a 25-point advantage. Skowronek scored again, this time from 73 yards, before Kyren Williams added a 2-yard touchdown run and Foskey scored on the blocked punt.

Foskey sprinted around the right edge of the Pitt offensive line to stuff the punt. The ball bounced backward into the end zone, and he chased it down for the special-teams touchdown.

On their first possession of the second half, Notre Dame added a 21-yard field goal by Jonathan Doerer to make it 31-3.

The advantage ballooned to 38-3 when Book connected with tight end Michael Mayer for a 14-yard touchdown with 4:22 remaining in the third quarter. It was the second touchdown of the season for Mayer, a highly touted freshman out of Kentucky.

Notre Dame made it 45-3 on C'Bo Flemister's 2-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter.

--Field Level Media