This game tonight against the Louisville Cardinals was tough to watch.
The Pittsburgh Panthers missed multiple opportunities in the first half with turnovers in scoring position proving to be the demise of the team tonight. The offense wasn’t able to sustain the level of play in the first half and now it will be an uphill battle for the Panthers. Kedon Slovis was getting called out by the broadcast crew all night long for bad reads and ill-advised throws which doomed the Panthers to fall to 4-3 on the season.
First half recap
Pittsburgh started on offense hot, driving just outside of the red zone. It fell off the rails at that point when Slovis threw a bad interception that gave the cardinals the ball back on their 1-yard line. After a three-and-out, Abanikanda again proved why he is so special. a 12-yard touchdown score gave Pitt the 7-0 lead.
Wild Panther @IAbanikanda— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) October 23, 2022
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This score would carry over through the end of the quarter but not for long. In the first play, Marshawn Ford ran free for an easy 25-yard touchdown pass. The wildcat was a highlight play for the Panthers throughout the first half. This eventually led to a Rodney Hammond fumble as Pitt was putting together a sustained drive. You never want to see injuries to either team and that happened late in the second quarter with Malik Cunningham leaving the game to be evaluated for a concussion. After a few plays out Cunningham made his way back into the game. The downfall of the first half was turnovers. The Panthers could have easily had a two-score lead at the minimum, but three total turnovers kept the game tied at 7 heading into halftime.
First half stats
Kedon Slovis - 9/13 for 112 yards and two horrendous interceptions
Israel Ibanikanda - 16 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown with 2 catches for 45 yards.
Jared Wayne - 2 catches for 21 yards.
4 penalties for 31 yards and 3 total turnovers, all of which were in scoring position
Second half recap
It was a weird start to the second half, to say the least. Malik Cunningham did not start the 3rd quarter which raised questions about the possible concussion.
SirVocea Dennis had a great first series with a defended pass followed by a drive ending sack.
SACK by @Sirvocea— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) October 23, 2022
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After missing the first series, Cunningham came back into the game and threw an interception on the drive.
Huge INT by @AjWoods09— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) October 23, 2022
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Following the interception, Pitt was able to sustain a drive and knock in a field goal with 1:47 left in the 3rd quarter for the 10-7 lead. This score would be sustained through the end of the 3rd quarter.
After not much traction for either team, Louisville marched down the field with a huge gain by a trick play to help set up another wide-open touchdown pass for Malik Cunningham. On the ensuing Pitt drive, another big run by Ibanikanda got the team on the Louisville side of the field. Yet again, the Pitt offense stalled out and was stopped on fourth down to give the ball back to Louisville.
With Louisville getting the ball back the Panthers needed a stop. Unfortunately for Pitt, in what may be one of the worst review calls of all time, a clear out-of-bounds wide receiver was awarded a catch that kept a drive alive to give the Cardinals another field goal. Pitt needed to respond at that point down 17-10. Yet again the Panthers shot themselves in the foot with another costly turnover. The Cardinals forced a Kedon Slovis fumble which was returned for a touchdown and truly put the game out of reach.
The loss drops Pitt to 1-2 into ACC play and tied with Miami for fourth in the Coastal. A truly disappointing game and a massive let down in what felt like a must win game. Pat Narduzzi post-game already has committed to Slovis going forward, which at this point says pretty loudly how they feel about the quarterbacks on the roster.
Kedon Slovis - 16/29 for 158 yards and 3 total turnovers.
Israel Ibanikanda - 28 carries for 129 yards and a touchdown with 3 catches for 50 yards. Izzy deserves so much better than this.
Gavin Bartholomew was the teams next highest in receiving yards at 24.
A.J. Woods grabbed his second career interception.
The Panthers travel to Chapel Hill next week to take on an explosive North Carolina offense. After tonight’s abysmal showing, it’s hard to see them keeping pace with the Tar Heels.