Three games in, Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi yanked starting quarterback Max Browne in favor of backup Ben DiNucci in Saturday's loss to Oklahoma State. That came at the delight of much of the crowd, including the student section, which chanted for DiNucci while Browne struggled through another lackluster performance.
Pitt fans have been pretty undecided on Browne vs. DiNucci. In our poll last week with about 1,000 voters in it, the Browne-DiNucci vote was 51% to 49% in favor of going with Browne for Oklahoma State. My guess is that it would be much more in favor of DiNucci after today.
DiNucci entered in the second quarter with Pitt trailing and led the Panthers to two touchdowns. He wasn't stellar, of course. He completed only 13-25 passes and also threw two interceptions. But he passed for one touchdown and in addition to accumulating 228 passing yards, made some plays with his legs. Browne, by contrast, was 7-10 for only 60 yards and, more importantly, just didn't make many plays.
While DiNucci did make a couple of mistakes in an ugly game, the difference between him and Browne seemed to be night and day. Most would have assumed DiNucci would get another start but Narduzzi is still apparently taking some time to make his decision.
Pat Narduzzi says he has a decision to make at quarterback. Max Browne was ineffective, Ben DiNucci provided a spark.— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) September 16, 2017
I don't have much of a problem with Narduzzi taking his time here and even letting practice determine the final call. But it wasn't hard to see that DiNucci was clearly the better quarterback today. I called for Browne to get the start today but, now three games in, he simply hasn't made enough plays. To me, barring a really bad week of practice or an injury, DiNucci should be the starter.
We'll see if Narduzzi agrees come next week.