At 3:30 in the afternoon this coming Saturday Pitt will begin a five game series that will go a long way in seeing which direction the football program is heading.  We’ll host the Duke Blue Devils for our “Family Day” Game.

Duke schedDuke has been spotty lately – they came out of the gates with a 4-1 record beating some pretty decent teams then screech to a halt with a 1-2 over the last three weeks.

Not that is terrible mind you, after all we also are 1-3 over our last four games.

We need this game to get some sort of momentum going into our last bit of the ACC games we’ll play.  As of right now the only feather in Pitt’s helmet is that we “almost won” against Notre Dame.  Fans were happy with that because like our other two ‘big games’ we didn’t get our asses handed to us by a 36+ yard average Other than that we’ve been pretty mediocre…

This one’s outcome might allow us a seven win seasons but a loss might see us with the reverse with seven losses.

duke team

Skill Player Stats

duke skill

Here where Duke sits nationally:


Duke National

This one is tricky because we’ve seen Narduzzi’s teams come out of a tough game like ND and do well the next game …and the opposite also.  Duke has some good things going for them like their passing game – 17 TDs to 4 INTs is a nice job and their 3rd down conversion defense – both things that we are poor at this season.

Here how the oddsmakers over at see the game:

Duke Odds

This will be a close one but I think Pitt has something left in the tank for winning two more games – this might be one of them.  We’ll have to run like hell over the Blue Devils though I don’t see our offense becoming pass accurate all of a sudden.

Pitt 37 – DUKE 31



104 thoughts on “Duke Know The Enemy & Game Predictions

  1. ACC needs Bowl Eligible teams. It’s very embarrassing for a conference to not fill all their bowl slots.

    Duke has 5 wins and has very winnable games left against the Tarholes and Wake Forest. Both at home btw. So they can afford to lose this game and still get to 6 or 7 wins and a bowl game.

    Pitt can not lose this game and expect to make a Bowl Game. Therefore Pitt wins 27-24
    The ACC needs more Bowl Eligible teams.


    1. Was that block lettering I see on Jock’s sweatshirt. Go figure. The greatest era of Pitt foottball didn’t use the script, LOL.


  2. Well if Narduuzi is right and the Duke QB is a top 10 pick next year in the NFL draft then Pitt will lose. The 3 wins this year were when the opposition QB’s didn’t perform up to par passing wiseGT the exception). Duke 31 Pitt 21.


  3. Here are some things I’ll be looking at:

    Do we go with varying defensive looks and a lot of pressure, ala Notre Dame? I think this will be necessary otherwise we lose, and deservingly so.

    How will the weather affect the game? Pickett has struggled all year for multiple reasons, but his first rain game experience, albeit in the dark, must’ve left him with bad memories. How will the rain affect him, and frankly both teams’ passing game?

    And lastly, the X-factors: Which Kessman will show up? And will the officials continue taking out their frustration on Narduzzi with ridiculous penalty calls (is this because he annoys them, or does the league have something against Pitt?)?

    I agree with the premise here, this game is pivotal, though I don’t see Pitt getting by enough teams week in and week out for the remainder of the year with a pathetic passing attack. Doesn’t mean I can’t keep rooting. Hail to Pitt.


  4. It will be tough for PITT to win this game if Duke scores in the thirties. Which brings me to a weird stat in Reeds great article. In the Edge Finder graphic I see this. PITT averages 191 yards compared to Duke’s 158, PITT also has the edge in TOP with 31.26 to 26.47 minutes on the field, yet Duke runs more plays, 70.14 to 62.71. I know Duke runs the hurry up but the old theory of controlling the clock with a good run game doesn’t hold true anymore in all cases. I honestly look for a more diverse passing game come tomorrow. I’ll be shoving off from Latrobe soon and I’ll give my prediction right before we set sail to Oakmont for the night. << I don’t post well on my phone so you will probably not hear form me until Sunday unless I jump on there cpu. ike


  5. Supposed to rain tommorrow at “PITT Stadium” on North Shore ??? Rainy days favors the team with with best running game and who protects the football but we have to account for the white elephant in our locker room..our Aussie punter who’s hand get as slippery and crocodile”s wet hide….


  6. PItt 27 (hangs on to beat) Duke 24…..PITT score 24 1st half points then Duzz and Watson protect the lead in the 2nd half. ..We see our 1st JG Jr. action tomorrow after Kenny gets the wind knocked out of him….


  7. I think I read that well over half of DI football offenses average over 400 yards per game. That is crazy.

    Pitt wins 34-31

    Hopefully Narduzzi slapped Watson upside the head. Let Pickett run and let him throw. Pull out all the stops.


  8. If Jones is on, the Pitt D wont stop the pass
    If Jones is off, Pitt has a chance if their offense can score more than 7

    If on: Duke 45/Pitt 24
    If off: Pitt 27/Duke 23


  9. This could be the defining game for Narduzzi this far into his head coaching tenure at PITT. I know that’s a little intense but the natives are getting restless round these parts. But it’s getting high time Narduzzi turns a corner imo. Let’s see what he’s got… Probably more missed kicks than made so…. the score may be crooked when the final whistle blows. To not expect this team to play a close game would be crazy. Either Duke blows them out or just a few points will separate them. Did I mention this may be a defining game for Pat. PITT must win tomorrow and I think (hope) they pull it out. Points by the defense will win this one.


    See you people at the tailgate. . .. … ike


  10. I know our rain game was against PSU. But Pickett could not grip the ball very well if I remember correctly. How the Duke QB handles the wet ball who knows? But if Pickett shows the same form as in the PSU game Pitt’s in deep trouble.


  11. I think Pitt scores 2 TDs in the first half and holds on to win 24-21. If it becomes a high scoring affair, Pitt loses because they can’t come from behind with the current passing game.


  12. As to the weather, 48° with 100% chance of rain..

    I can tell you firsthand, after working in North Carolina today, where it is 46° and non stop rain, it feels quite cold with wet clothes on.

    Dress extra warm.. can always take clothes off.
    Enjoy everyone going and H2P!


  13. I think this game is going to be a VERY close battle of 2 equal teams. My fear is that our Panthers have not yet adequately learned how to win a close game.

                                          PITT:   23
                                          DUKE: 27


  14. You folks going to the game may get lucky as some forecasts are expecting the morning rain to turn to showers in the afternoon. Let’s hope so.


  15. Wet, cold, 3-4 team. Only prediction is bad attendance. For the first time in 15 years might not go to game, but not really due to weather. Oh, score: 31-28 us.


  16. The best way to get ths blog on your phone is to download the WordPress app onto your phone after setting up your acct. Make sure that you have your Gravatar account set up to pull the avatar into the app, and then log into WordPress. Stay logged in and you should be able to access this blog from the phone.


  17. I’m not knocking Duke, they are a decent team and probably well coached, but if we can’t win a winnable game like this, at home, with an extra week to prepare, then to me it is a black mark on the coaching staff.

    Pitt 24, Duke 20

    Sorry I just jinked us

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You would think the bye week would benefit us….I think Nardo’s record off the bye week is not good though. I know for certain he is 0-2 off the many bye weeks of Bowl games.


  18. Rain will be a factor for both teams. When we talk about rain games, many forget Syracuse had some wet conditions. Pitt is better equipped to handle rain at this point


    1. Looks like the Yellow retro helmets though. Hard to tell in that lighting. Every fan should be given a yellow poncho to wear….if we were smart.


  19. Maybe with the extra week to prepare, we will have something for both the 1st AND 2nd half.
    Nah, that would take decent coaching.

    So my reverse psych has worked lately but this week I will try my reverse reverse.
    Pitt 19
    Puke 17

    Liked by 1 person

  20. PITT continues its march to the coastal. championship.
    PITT 31 – Duke 17.

    From my phone in front of an outside fire in wet, damp, chilly Columbia. I cut & hauled the firewood from my place in the upstate. Drinking a cold Yueangling.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. As Reed stated above Pitt needs to “Run like hell” (would add Pink Floyd / Run like hell here if I could)
    Maybe we play it at the tailgate…
    I think we do indeed use a strong ground game and punish the dookies 35-20.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Both BigB and Ike are having some problems. They will be on site tomorrow so they will need phone access if possible.


  23. Don’t feel good about this game. I think it’s because I was at the Duke game last season and thought it was a minor miracle that we pulled that one out — including the two very long TD runs by Hall.

    My guess: Panthers 24; Dukies 31

    Go Pitt.


  24. These are the games that we must win. At home. A beatable team. Well rested. Important to our Bowl hopes.

    But to this point, we have not shown the ability to consistently win these types of games.

    I am perplexed at our inability to pass. But for whatever the reasons are (Oline, QB, receivers), its apparent at this point that we have no downfield passing game. Tough to win when you are one dimensional on offense.

    But I Lyke the way the defense looked last week. Keep playing like that and we will have a chance every week.

    Pitt 31. Dookies 23


  25. I haven’t been this perplexed about a Pitt team, game-to-game, since the Walt Harris days.

    Pitt has played a better schedule and has more talent than Duke, I think. (How pathetic I’m comparing the talent at Pitt to Duke?!- Thanks King Pat). But, Narduzzi’s teams tend to play poorly after a bye– another bad attribute for a coaching staff.

    Everything points to a Pitt win (and I wouldn’t be surprised if Pitt wins by 10+) but something in my gut says we screw this up. I hope I’m wrong.

    I agree with ike.. This is a possible watershed moment for Narduzzi. In my opinion, Pitt could win this game and the “jury’s still out” on Narduzzi, IMO. However, I f Pitt loses to DUKE(?!) to drop to 3-5 in year 4… He HAS to go.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ajax Babo and Comet. Not sure that I spelled Babo correctly. I lived Fresh and Soph years in A. Rooms 1413 and 1703, I think. 1703 gave great views of some girls’ rooms in Tower C.



  26. As Pitt has never won when I predicted they will, I believe Pitt will lose this one. The final score will be Duke 31 Pitt 17. The Duke quarterback will burn our defense with the hurry up offense passing well in the first half with the run game becoming more successful after the half as they burn clock in the fourth quarter. As always, I hope I am wrong.

    By the way, we really need to go all wildcat against Virginia Tech based on Georgia Tech’s success. Maybe Hall can at least complete 30% of his passes which would be enough to keep the defense honest. We have three good running backs to operate such an offense. It has to be better than what we have now. Our newest tight end/converted offensive lineman hopefully can at least catch a shovel pass.


  27. Coastal takes it on the chin again. But hey anytime Thug U loses it’s a good thing…..right.

    They also have pathetic quarterbacking, who gets plenty of time to pass.

    Coastal is there for the taking……….HAS TO START TOMORROW !!!


  28. Duke is averaging 158 rushing yards per game, however here is the main stat that leads me to favor the Panthers. Duke is only getting 76 yards per game in conference play thus far in 2018. The dukies’ rivals know how to stop the run and it has worked so far against the blue dress devils.

    Stopping the run today will be the key to winning.

    On a sloppy, rainy day, does OC Watson try to get fancy and shed the conservative O – ??? Sarcastic to say the least…

    If nothing else, today should be entertaining.



  29. If either of our two principle RB’s could throw the ball decently I’d say go wildcat full time from the starting whistle. Getting that extra run blocker on the field full time might surprise the hell out of Duke this week,

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Reed, homecoming was the Syracuse game…today is Family day. And many of the POV family will be there. 😎
    Rain gear is mandatory.


  31. jrnpitt, maybe come out full wildcat in the second half if KP or Boy George are ineffective. Less chance of defensive adjustments at halftime…
    After all, Panthers are wild cats.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. lastrow, since the wildcat has already been used in previous games I’m sure Duke will be prepared to some extent for defending it. However would they be prepared for a Paris Ford(or another speed back) accepting the snap? Unfortunately our two main RB’s are built out of the same mold. A speed back getting to the outside or handing off to a FB much like Navy or GT does from time to time might surprise the hell out of Duke today.


    1. Who would win a foot race between Ford and Hall? Might be Hall…

      Now when it comes to being more elusive, I’d go with Ford…

      Go Pitt.


  33. Miami recruiting is supposedly way better than Pitts. ND recruiting is supposedly a thousand times better than Pitt.

    When you look at the last game Pitt played each of those teams, I don’t see an ACROSS THE BOARD gap in talent that the recruiting rankings indicate. Yes, Pitt has issues at certain positions and I think those teams have better talent but it isn’t such a huge gap that it can’t be overcome with good coacihing and player development.

    Good coaching is an entirely different subject.


    1. speed at elite positions are the gaps
      But yes look at how TCU and Okie State have done it
      Their recruiting is no better than Pitt’s historically
      They do it with coaches, schemes and development


  34. Good points jrn… especially with Ford on occasion.
    Our strengths are OL run blocking, Aston blocking and powerful runners. Add a bit of hurry up to the mix…


  35. I predicting that either A.Mathews or T.Tipton throw a pass today. Maybe even from the wildcat formation.

    The rain ain’t going away…


  36. No clue on the outcome of this one, definitely another must win for Narduzzi.

    Weather should be disgustingly bad, it is raining cats and dogs and quite cold.

    Looks like the best ground game wins.


  37. Aaron Matthews was a high school qb run the wishbone for these last five games let him throw an occasional pass. Now wouldn’t that be a coaching adjustment.


  38. Duke beats us academically. Duke beats us in basketball. But this is football. Duke has done the easy scheduling for years under Cutcliffe and have now started to recruit better. They beat Army, NC Central, Northwestern and Baylor this year in the OOC. Cupcake city and I am jealous.

    Today, Pitt wins the coin toss and actually makes the right call to defer. Fumbles in general are a part of this game and their field goal kicker struggles. At the end, with a chance to send it into overtime, he becomes a shankapotomous.

    Pitt wins in a blowout, 24-21 in front of an announced crowd of 38,000 with actual butts in the seats of about 18,000.


  39. Pitt will chew up the field today leaving it a mess for tomorrows Steelers game
    The Steelers will then blame Pitt
    The NFL will fine the Steelers
    Pitt will be sent the bill


  40. Teams pass in wet conditions all the time, we need to do it today.

    When has the Wildcat offense ever succeeded for us other than an individual play or two?? Really, going back to 2007 when I can first remember us using it with McCoy it has been very sketchy for us.

    How about we get a HC who can build a solid enough offense so that we don’t have to try to resort to trick plays. We see how well those do for us and on a most every attempt a well-executed normal play would have worked better for us.

    I think Watson’s playcalling overall hasn’t been bad but the execution sucks. What did Pitt fans expect given our returning talent level on offense? Aside from the hype about KP we all knew everyone else was average D1 talent…and that is what we are seeing out there.


    1. IF we pass(with any success) in today’s wet conditions, it will be the first time ALL YEAR in ANY conditions!

      We NEED to do enough passing to allow some running game opportunity and keep the Duke LB’s at least hesitating for a split second.

      About to begin the 4 hour trek. Please make it worth my drive Pat, and I don’t mean just a close game.

      Liked by 1 person

  41. ND & Miami are “supposedly” recruiting better than Pitt? Supposedly?

    Are you joking? Virtually everyone in the country believes ND has top 5-10 talent. Miami, easily in the top 25.

    If you believe the talent level at Pitt is close to equivalent, you are alone… well, maybe ike and Tossing Thabeets might agree with you. (I kid gentleman. I know you’re smarter than that.)


  42. Weeks ago I predicted that Pitt’s Defense was where POSITIVE change was going to come.

    A part of that change has been the insertion of Reynolds at Middle Linebacker who fellow Players like Watts and Weaver have singled out for his SMARTS.

    However, Pat Narduzzi liked something else about Reynolds’ game.

    “He’s as physical a linebacker as you’re going to have,” he (Narduzzi) said. “When he hits you, he pops you. Quintin can pop you, but when Elias hits you, he hits you. You hear it in practice.” – Trib Review

    While Reynolds was my personal favorite to replace Wirginis in the Middle, think it might be time time to let another name now become a BIGGER Contributor to the change.

    Time to get off the pine Chase.


  43. One game doesn’t provide an assessment of the relative recruiting levels. Anything can happen in one game. Does any rational person believe that Pitt’s talent compares with Clemson? Over time the cream rises to the top. Talent is 80% of the game and coaching/preparation are maybe 20%. Throw in luck, officiating, etc. at another 10% for a total of 110%. In any given game, one of these categories is 10% less, which leads to upsets such as Pitt/Clemson.


  44. I Want to be optimistic but I just don’t yet believe the team will be able to maintain consistency across all 3 units. Plus the pass defense against a real QB just does not promote confidence.

    I believe the game will be close into the 4th quarter but in the end –

    Pitt 27
    Duke 48



  45. Only the heartiest of souls will be there today. Awful weather.
    I have no idea what expect, but like Reed’s prediction and hope we are rewarded for attending today.


  46. Haven’t been able to figure this one out all week. So much fighting between my head and gut. Today, the indigestion clears and my gut says we are 3-5, as we try to establish the passing game out of the gate (in bad weather)but it goes nowhere. Defense aided by the rain helps us out today, but we still fall short, Dookies 21, good guys 17. Watson is fired after today because he can’t follow Nerduzzi’s instructions on how to run the offense, and the defense just has a “few things we need to execute better with “.


  47. Not sure how many have graduated, but had a chance to see Duke “Up Close and Personal” from the sidelines at Army last year.

    BIG especially Offensive Line.

    Athletic at Runningback and Linebacker.

    Quarterback is a Poor Man’s Roethlisberger. Has the ability to MOVE in the Pocket and willingness to STAND TALL in the face of a RUSH.


  48. In the grand scheme of football right and wrong, Pitt is SUPPOSED to beat Duke. Pitt should be undefeated in the Coastal every year, except for the fluke flub up now and then, even without a great recruiting class. Wisconsin would dominate the Costal. Michigan State would dominate the Costal. With the right coaching, Pitt should be there. D is coming along. The running game is coming along. Seriously, enough is enough! Shut them down and pound on the ground. Or get new coaches. These are kids with heart and enough skill to win out.

    Damn well better be Pitt 23 Duke 13 (missed extra points)



  49. PS. My handle has been LA Panther for a year or two. I’ll try to figure how to change back. (lighght and eyere are two short poems I used for an academic account and the somehow wound up on this one. I’m not a computer guy. )


  50. Never thought we could score this many, but since they torture me week in and week out, I guess they just want to prolong my misery in this freezing wet crap. Let’s go Pitt!


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