No luck for the Panthers, as they get blown out by the Fighting Irish
Just when you thought the Panthers might show up and show out vs. a ranked Notre Dame team in South Bend on Saturday, they reminded everyone that the 2023 regular season is still the Halloween nightmare nobody saw coming.
Two weeks after upsetting an undefeated Louisville team at Acrisure Stadium and one week removed from a devasting road loss to Wake Forest, Pitt waltzed into Notre Dame Stadium with its bowl hopes hanging by a thread. It left battered and bruised following a 58-7 blowout loss that may not even have been that close.
In his third start, Christian Veilleux completed 14 of 29 passes for just 127 yards and four interceptions. Is he the answer for the Panthers at quarterback? He certainly wasn’t on Saturday.
It wasn’t exactly a great day for Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman, who completed 18 of 25 passes for 288 yards and two interceptions, but it didn’t have to be. That’s thanks to the Fighting Irish special teams and defense which accounted for three touchdowns on Saturday.
Chris Tyree returned a punt 82 yards for a score midway through the first quarter to give Notre Dame a 7-0 lead. The Irish extended their lead to 17-0 by halftime and 24-0 early in the third quarter on a 10-yard touchdown run by Jadarian Price.
If that wasn’t the fatal blow, it happened moments later when Jaden Mickey intercepted a pass from Veilleux and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown to give the home team a 31-0 lead.
The rout was on, and it remained on. Veilleux was intercepted again on the next series. Moments later, M.J. Henderson muffed a punt at his own five-yard line, and Ramon Henderson fell on it in the end zone to give the Irish a 37-0 lead.
Notre Dame outgained the Panthers in yardage, 535 to 255. The Irish gained 25 first downs to Pitt’s 11. Notre Dame won the time of possession battle, 35:31 to 24:29.
It was bad all the way around.
Veilleux was eventually pulled in favor of Nate Yarnell, who found receiver Bub Means for a 25-yard touchdown pass midway through the final period to give the Panthers their lone touchdown on the afternoon.
The Panthers are now 2-6 and will need to run the table in order to be bowl-eligible. If that even matters for a squad that came into the season on the cusp of the top 25 and hoped to compete for another ACC title.
So much for those plans.
Next up for Pitt is a matchup against 8-0 and fourth-ranked Florida State next Saturday afternoon at Acrisure Stadium.
In other words, it could get worse before it gets better.