PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Rodney Hammond burst through the line for a 66-yard touchdown with 4:29 to play in the fourth quarter as the Panthers snapped a second four-game losing streak this season beating Boston College 24-16.
“I knew the game was tight,” Hammond said. “I had to make a play. As you see, I was trying to make a play every time I touched the ball. I just knew I had to make a play. I knew no one was catching me.”
The burst, which Hammond called ‘cheetah speed’ gave the junior tailback a career best 145 yards on only 15 carries. It was the third, 100-yard game of his career having one in each of his first three seasons with the Panthers. It also moved Hammond up to 25th place on the Pitt all-time rushing list with 1,489 yards.
Redshirt sophomore Nate Yarnell became the third different Panthers starting quarterback this season. He finished 11-19 for 207 yards and a touchdown, rushing for 24 yards and a touchdown. He is now 2-0 as a Pitt starting quarterback (previous win last season at Western Michigan, 10-14, 195 yards, TD).
“Sunday we said we were going with Nate, and Nate took all the snaps with the ones all week,” said Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi. “We just felt like he would go in and make really good decision, which he does today. He protected the ball and gives you a chance to win a football game.”
Yarnell’s most impressive play was in the third quarter. He had time to throw pump fake left held the defense and then he turned right and flicked the ball 35 yards off his back foot to a wide-open Bub Means. The senior receiver took it in stride and finished off a 61-yard touchdown.
Stuffing the QB
Thomas Castellanos came into the game as the third leading rusher in the ACC (806 yards). The BC quarterback rushed 17 times for 21 yards, his lowest rushing total of the season. Castellanos was sacked six times for a loss of 30 yards.
“He is an athlete,” Narduzzi said. “You can see him just outrun some guys to the edge, but I thought we limited him pretty good. He still scrambled. He is fast. He is a playmaker. We did a good job in the run game. That was the most impressive part is stopping the run. That was the number one key. I told the defense prior to the game, I said, I didn't say stop the pass; I said stop the run. I thought they did a really good job.”
The Pitt sacks-Dayon Hayes (2), Bengally Kamara, Shayne Simon, AJ Woods and Deandre Jules. Hayes totaled three tackles for loss, Javon McIntyre also had a tackle for loss and a pair of pass breakups.
Phillip O’Brien’s third quarter interception stopping a Boston College drive at the one-yard line was his third of the season, leading the team. The junior also had interceptions against Wake Forest and Notre Dame.
Panthers senior MJ Devonshire’s interception on a fourth down throw sealing with win. It’s the seventh interception of his Panthers career.
16 seniors were introduced for Senior Day. There are two groups, the 11 who walked who are out of eligibility
· DT David Green
· QB/TE Phil Jurkovec
· TE Malcolm Epps
· CB AJ Woods
· CB Marquis Williams
· RB C’Bo Flemister
· LB Shayne Simon
· OL Jake Kradel
· OL Blake Zubovic
· DT Tyler Bentley
· DT Devin Danielson
5 seniors still with eligibility remaining
· WR Bub Means
· CB MJ Devonshire
· WR Josh Junko
· LB Brandon George
· OL Matt Goncalves
Panthers will close the season at Duke on Saturday, November 25 with either a Noon or 3:30p kickoff time. That will be announced this Saturday.