After taking a beatdown from Virginia Tech in Week 11, Boston College football will attempt to get back on the winning track against a struggling Pittsburgh squad on Thursday night.
It was a rough weekend for the Eagles, who crashed back down to reality after a five-game winning streak that made them bowl-eligible for the first time since 2021. BC’s matchup with the Hokies proved to be one of the few games all year where the Eagles were truly dominated for 60 minutes and exposed on their home turf.
Virginia Tech snatched away any chance for BC to reach the ACC Championship but one ugly loss doesn’t mean the season is over. The Eagles still have two more games during the regular season, a bowl game to play, and a chance to get back into the win column against the two-win Panthers who have struggled all season to even find a consistent quarterback.
Who is BC playing?
When is BC playing?
Thursday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m.
Where is BC playing?
Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pa.
How to watch?
The game will air on ESPN and on BC Sports Network from Learfield on WEEI 93.7FM/850 AM.
The Panthers lead the all-time series, which dates back to 1959, 17–15. BC holds a home record of 8–8 and away record of 7–9 against Pitt, and the Eagles have won the last two games of the series. The last meeting, on Oct. 10, 2020, resulted in a 31–30 Eagles’ home victory in overtime.
What To Expect From Pitt’s Offense:
The Panthers are led by quarterback Christian Veilleux, who has started the last five games after replacing former BC quarterback Phil Jurkovec. Jurkovec was benched by head coach Pat Narduzzi early in the year due to his lack of execution, particularly in the red zone.
This season, Veilleux—a transfer from Penn State—has completed 94 of 184 passes for a 51 percent completion percentage and 1,179 passing yards. He has just seven touchdown passes compared to eight interceptions on the year.
The Panthers’ offense ranks dead last in the ACC in yards per game, total yards, points per game, and rushing yards per game. Veilleux and the Pitt offense continued their struggles last week against Syracuse at Yankee Stadium.
Veilleux threw for 161 yards and a touchdown but also had three turnovers, which included a pick six and two fumbles. He was benched during the game for backup Nate Yarnell, who only completed three passes. It is unclear who the quarterback will be for Thursday night’s game, and there has been some speculation that Jurkovec might suit up again despite apparently transitioning positions to tight end.
The Panthers’ leading wide receiver is 6-foot-2 senior Bub Means, who has tallied 558 receiving yards on the year. He notched two receptions for 71 yards last week against the Orange. The leading rusher for Pitt is running back Rodney Hammond Jr., who has 381 yards over 10 games at a clip of 4.0 yards per carry. He only recorded 43 yards on the ground last week.
What To Expect From Pitt’s Defense:
The Panthers’ defense has certainly outperformed their offense so far this season, although that hasn’t been very hard to do. Just like BC’s defense, Pitt’s defensive numbers are better against the pass but ugly against the run. The Eagles are facing a team that allowed Syracuse to rush for 382 yards on the ground, including 154 rushing yards from a tight end.
The Panthers have the fourth-worst rushing defense in the ACC, allowing 157.9 rushing yards per game. Through the air, Pitt’s defense has allowed about 211 passing yards per game, which ranks it in the middle of the pack in the ACC. But these numbers might be deceiving considering how much teams have exploited Pitt’s porous rush defense.
The Panthers have given up 110 points during their last three games. Middle linebacker Shayne Simon leads the team with four sacks on the year, and the defense as a whole has combined for 25 sacks so far this season. Solomon DeShields and Brandon George, along with Simon, are the leaders on the defense with DeShields leading the team in tackles for loss.
This game is a perfect opportunity for the Eagles to get back to their winning ways and boost team morale after a demoralizing loss last week against Virginia Tech.
The Panthers have struggled to find their identity this season and are heading into Thursday’s game coming off four straight losses. Pitt has one of the worst run defenses in the ACC, which is an area that quarterback Thomas Castellanos and BC’s offense can exploit, as long as the Eagles can get back starting running back Kye Robichaux.
The strength of BC’s run game may expose weaknesses within Pitt, as BC is currently the only team in the ACC with over 2,000 rushing yards. On the opposite end, the Eagles must tighten up their run defense as they allowed 363 rushing yards and 600 total yards last week to the Hokies.
This should be a very run-heavy game, with both teams getting yardage on the ground as they try to exploit the weak rush defense of their opponent. Pitt doesn’t boast a star player in many areas of its game, but the Panthers are capable of playing very good football and beating good teams—the Panthers are still the only team in the country to beat No. 11 Louisville.