Duke’s ability to protect QB could slow down Pitt’s pass rush | TribLIVE.com
Pitt

Duke’s ability to protect QB could slow down Pitt’s pass rush

Jerry DiPaola
1745037_web1_gtr-PittUCF05-092219
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Kylan Johnson drops UCF’s Kyle Benkel in the first half Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019 at Heinz Field.

While preparing for Saturday’s game at Duke, nothing should concern Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi more than his opponent’s reputation for protecting the quarterback.

The Blue Devils (3-1, 1-0 ACC) are one of three teams (Air Force and Georgia are the others) that have allowed only one quarterback sack this season.

“So, they’re getting the ball out quick, out of (the quarterback’s) hands, and they’re not taking negative plays,” Narduzzi said.

The result is quarterback Quentin Harris is first in the ACC and 12th in the nation with a 72.9 completion percentage (86 of 118).

Duke lost quarterback Daniel Jones, who was 0-3 against Pitt, to the sixth pick in the NFL Draft. But Harris might be more elusive. He leads the team in rushing with 303 yards. Meanwhile, Pitt (3-2, 0-1) has 24 sacks and is second in the nation and No. 1 in the ACC in average per game (4.8). Sophomore tackle Jaylen Twyman shares the ACC lead with Virginia’s Jordan Mack with six. Linebacker Kylan Johnson has four.

Do you think that matters to Narduzzi?

“You’re only as good as your last week,” he said. “Right now, when I look at that tape, I get sick and I think we’re a crappy defense, so we’ll find out what we get this weekend, and we’ll evaluate them week by week, and then at the end of the year we’ll find out who we’ve got.”

•••

No to Rutgers

Narduzzi put to rest stories linking his name to the opening at Rutgers. Former coach Chris Ash was fired Sunday after a 52-0 loss to Michigan and an 8-32 record in three-plus seasons.

“I signed a long-term contract here a few years ago (through 2024),” Narduzzi said. “I’m here at Pitt, and I’m staying at Pitt. Real simple.”

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Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Pitt
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