Kenny Pickett nearly sets Pitt completions record in Penn State game | TribLIVE.com
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Kenny Pickett nearly sets Pitt completions record in Penn State game

Jerry DiPaola
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AP
Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) scrambles away from Penn State defensive end Jayson Oweh (28) in an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019.

After the frustration and disappointment over Pitt’s close loss to Penn State subsided, coach Pat Narduzzi was able to look through the rubble and see a pleasant reality: Quarterback Kenny Pickett played the best game of his career.

Pickett nearly set a Pitt record for completions in a game, successfully finding his target 35 times in 51 attempts. The record (37) was set by Alex Van Pelt against Notre Dame in 1990.

Pickett was the first Pitt quarterback with more than 30 completions since Tyler Palko had 31 against Louisville in 2006.

Just two weeks earlier against Virginia, Pickett hit only 21 of 41 attempts with two interceptions. Against Penn State, Pickett directed an offense that has gone two consecutive games without a turnover.

“I thought Kenny stood in that pocket strong, stepped up when he needed to, fired the ball,” Narduzzi said. “They’re pretty sturdy versus the run, and they wanted to take the run away, so we took what they gave us, and, obviously, I think we attacked their weakness, which was their secondary.

“I just thought his eyes down the field, when you compare it to Week 1 against Virginia when you saw those scrambles, what’s that tell you? OK, he’s a great scrambler, but it tells you he’s looking at the rush and getting the heck out of there. He didn’t trust his protection.

“And when you look at where he was from Week 1 to Week 3, it’s totally different because (Penn State defensive end) Shaka Toney is coming off the edge still. But (Pickett’s) eyes didn’t leave, and he’s making shots, and you look at our receivers making plays, man.”

Actually, Narduzzi said Pickett could have had even more completions.

“I think we had four drops,” he said, “and if they don’t drop those four balls, I believe we win the game, period. It just keeps drives going.”

Still, Pitt wide receivers Maurice Ffrench and Taysir Mack own the second-most receptions (24 and 21) of any pair in the FBS.

•••

Another early kickoff

Kickoff for Pitt’s final nonconference game this season will be 12:30 p.m. Sept. 28 against Delaware. It will be the only FCS game on Pitt’s schedule. The game will be televised by AT&T SportsNet.

Get the latest news about Pitt football and all things Panthers athletics.

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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