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Losses by Coastal rivals push Pitt closer to winning division championship

November 27, 2018

After doing little more than flying home from Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday, Pitt seized sole possession of first place in the ACC Coastal and moved closer to winning the division championship - something coach Pat Narduzzi promised in August.

After Coastal members Virginia Tech (4-4, 3-2) and Miami (5-4, 2-3) lost to Boston College and Duke, respectively, Pitt can clinch first place by defeating the Hokies and Wake Forest in its next two games.

Virginia Tech visits Heinz Field on Saturday. The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. and will be nationally televised by ESPNU. The Hokies have lost three of their past four games, giving up 45, 49 and 31 points in losses to Notre Dame, Georgia Tech and Boston College.

Wake Forest has lost five of seven, allowing 41, 56, 63, 38 and 41 points in losses to Boston College, Notre Dame, Clemson, Florida State and Syracuse.

The Panthers (5-4, 4-1) beat Virginia on Friday night, 23-13. Virginia (6-3, 4-2) finishes its ACC schedule with games at Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, but it would lose a tiebreaker with Pitt. If Pitt is 6-1 before its regular-season finale in Miami on Nov. 24, the game would have no bearing on the Coastal title race.

Pitt is the only team in the Coastal with fewer than two defeats and one of only three in the ACC.

At the end of a boosters luncheon Aug. 24 at Heinz Field, Narduzzi closed the proceedings by saying, “Next time we’ll see you is in Charlotte for the ACC championship game because we’re going.”

It was the second bold statement from a Pitt player or coach before the opener. On the first day of training camp, quarterback Kenny Pickett vowed Pitt would not finish 5-7, its record in 2017.

“I love to win, and we win in Pittsburgh,” he said, “so 5-7 won’t happen again. I guarantee that.”

Narduzzi also promised a Pitt victory last season when he was interviewed by ESPN sideline reporter Allison Williams at halftime of the Miami game. Pitt went on to win, 24-14.

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