Last Saturday, an announced crowd of 44,141 arrived at Heinz Field for Pitt’s matchup with Delaware and was met with a surprise, as Nick Patti started the game under center in place of Kenny Pickett. While Patti performed well, throwing for 271 yards and two touchdowns, Pickett will return for Pitt’s matchup with Duke in Durham, North Carolina, on Saturday.
“Kenny is back, ready to go,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi told Jerry DiPaola of the Tribune-Review on Thursday. “I’ll talk about guys I know for sure will play. And Kenny will play. He’s 100 percent. He looks great.”
Pickett was injured during Pitt’s 35-34 win over UCF on Sept. 21 and left the game in the third quarter after injuring his right shoulder. The injury was described as a bruise and only kept him out for a few series. Pickett then returned in the fourth quarter and led Pitt on a 12-play, 79-yard drive that culminated in the now-famous “Pitt Special,” which won the game.
This week, Pickett was a full participant in practice with no restrictions. The junior signal-caller sat out for the majority of last week, and it was eventually determined that he was not ready to go. That led to Patti getting the nod 45 minutes before kickoff by his own account.
This season, Pickett has thrown for 1,102 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 60.8 percent of his 176 passes. He has also been a vital element of first-year Pitt offensive coordinator Mark Whipple’s pass-heavy game plan and should figure prominently into Pitt’s plans on Saturday.