FOOTBALL | NCAAF

Western Michigan Broncos vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Pick & Prediction SEP 18TH 2021

Complete Heinz Field Pittsburgh
123Broncos Western Michigan
124Panthers Pittsburgh
OP
57.5
-14.5
CU
59o -110
-14 -110
ML
ML: 475
ML: -650
Partials
1 2 3 4
14 13 7 10
7 20 7 7
Score
44
41

Following a road win over an SEC opponent, the questions will be predictable for Pittsburgh headed into a home contest against Western Michigan on Saturday.

Will there be a letdown for the Panthers following an emotional 41-34 win at Tennessee?

That will be the million-dollar question for Pitt as it seeks a 3-0 start for a second consecutive year.

"I don't see that as a problem," Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said. "I think we have a mature football team. We won't overlook anybody."

Western Michigan Broncos

As will be the case throughout the season, the Panthers relied mainly on senior quarterback Kenny Pickett in the win over Tennessee.

Pickett went 24-of-36 passing for 285 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 36 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries to lead Pitt's offense.

The performance of Pickett, who is 57 yards shy of passing Dan Marino (8,597 from 1979-82) for second-place on the school's list for most career passing yards, helped the Panthers overcome some special teams and defensive breakdowns to beat the Volunteers.

"It's nice to have missed execution and W's at the same time," Narduzzi said. "That's what we were able to get. We had some poor execution. You live and learn from it. That'll be a focus this week."

Next up for the Panthers is a Mid-American Conference opponent in Western Michigan, which is looking to fare better against its second FBS opponent of the season than it did in its first.

The Broncos (1-1) were walloped in a season opener at Michigan, giving up 551 total yards -- including 335 rushing -- in a 47-14 loss.

Western Michigan was better in its home opener against an FCS opponent, Illinois State, recording its first shutout since 2018 in a 28-0 win.

The Broncos can be a dangerous team on offense behind sophomore quarterback Kaleb Eleby (365 yards, two touchdowns) and junior running back La'Darius Jefferson (144 yards, three touchdowns on the ground).

"There are still some things we need to get better at," Western Michigan head coach Tim Lester said. "Every time you play, it's a great magnifying glass into what you need to work on. You just go back to work the next week."

--Field Level Media

Western Michigan Broncos vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Recap SEP 18TH 2021

Kaleb Eleby went 23-of-35 passing for 336 yards and three touchdowns to lead Western Michigan to a 44-41 win at Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Kenny Pickett was 23-of-31 passing for 382 yards and six touchdowns in defeat for Pitt, which scored a big road win last week at Tennessee.

The first half was a display of offensive fireworks, with the teams tied 27-27 at halftime.

Pitt (2-1) opened the scoring with 8:08 left in the first quarter on a 67-yard touchdown pass from Pickett to Jordan Addison.

Western Michigan then scored 20 unanswered points on a 1-yard touchdown run by Sean Tyler with 3:42 left in the first quarter, a 1-yard touchdown run by La'Darius Jefferson with 1:28 to go in the first quarter and a 30-yard touchdown pass from Eleby to Skyy Moore with 12:01 left in the second quarter.

The Panthers answered as Pickett threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Lucas Krull with 8:54 remaining in the second quarter and then found Addison for a 23-yard touchdown pass with 7:25 to go in the second to tie the game at 20.

Western Michigan (2-1) regained the lead at 27-20 on a 5-yard touchdown from Eleby to Tyler with 4:17 left in the second, but Pitt tied the game with 1:07 left until halftime on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Pickett to Addison.

The Broncos took a 34-27 lead with 7:31 left in the third quarter on a 54-yard touchdown pass from Eleby to Corey Crooms, but Pitt tied the game at 34 with 5:00 remaining in the third on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Pickett to Krull.

Western Michigan went back up 41-34 with 14:10 remaining in the game on a 3-yard touchdown run by Jefferson.

Western Michigan took a 44-34 lead with 5:37 left on a 29-yard field goal by Parker Sampson, but Pitt closed to within 44-41 on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Pickett to Jaylon Barden with 3:48 left.

--Field Level Media

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