MORGANTOWN, WV (93.7 The Fan) – Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi is sticking with his quarterback, as he reacted to the lack of a passing attack in a 17-6 loss to West Virginia (2-1) on Saturday night.
“Got a lot of faith in Phil,” Narduzzi said. “You got to give defenses credit. We took the opening drive down to the three-yard line and you got to score touchdowns and you don’t. Our kids didn’t stop.”
Narduzzi said he wants to watch the tape but thought the performance was better. He will again review the game before meeting with reporters on Monday, but said as of now Jurkovec, will start against North Carolina at home on Saturday.
The first-year Panther was 8-20 for 81 yards and three interceptions. It was the worst performance by a Pitt quarterback since Kenny Pickett threw for eight yards in the ACC Championship game in 2018. That was against a Clemson defense that didn’t lose a game and won a national championship.
“It’s always 11 guys out there,” Narduzzi said Saturday. “Until you watch the tape you don’t know exactly where it was. We’ll look at the tape and have more answers for you on Monday.”
Narduzzi says he has confidence in backups Nate Yarnell and Christian Veilleux.
“You guys are fast to want to pull the plug on somebody,” Narduzzi said. “That’s not how we do it. I’m a positive guy. I try to stay positive. You start dumping people whether it’s a corner, a tackle, a quarterback. It’s not good for you.”
Even center Jake Kradel had Jurkovec’s back, saying the offensive line needs to play better and it starts with him at center. He said if he would make better calls and put guys in the best position to protect him, Phil will deliver.
“I have so much confidence in that guy,” Kradel said. “If we just continue to block for him, give him time to throw. He will make plays. Phil is a natural leader. That’s the thing I love about him. We got to play better for him.”
“We’ll look at the tape and it’s never one person,” Narduzzi said. “I know you guys want to point the finger at one. It’s not. We all had a part in it and it started with the game plan.”
“It starts with the coaches and trickles down to the players.”
Narduzzi said the difference in the game is turnovers, crediting West Virginia for making some plays on the ball. He pointed out they got 10 points off turnovers, too many penalties and admitted it’s hard to win a game when you kick two field goals and don’t have a touchdown.
The 1-2 Panthers host 3-0 and nationally ranked North Carolina on Saturday night. The Tar Heels coming off a 31-13 win over Minnesota as quarterback Drake Maye threw for 414 yards and a pair of touchdowns.