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film room: pittsburgh's offensive weapons and stout passing defense will challenge duke football

duke freshman quarterback grayson loftis will face a tough pittsburgh secondary saturday.
duke freshman quarterback grayson loftis will face a tough pittsburgh secondary saturday.

duke football finishes its regular season at home versus pittsburgh. the blue zone is here to preview the panthers' squad:

after falling to virginia in its last road game of the season, duke will have one more opportunity to right the ship, as the blue devils will host pittsburgh saturday on senior day. while it does not sport an outstanding resume this season, the panthers have been impressive in some games this season, knocking off then-no.14 louisville and recently taking down boston college, making pittsburgh a team that duke should not take lightly in its last regular-season contest.

after benching transfer quarterback phil jurkovec earlier this season, pittsburgh head coach pat narduzzi turned to sophomore christian veilleux before switching once more to sophomore nate yarnell to take over the offense for the remainder of the season. in his second start against boston college, yarnell was very effective, going 11-for-19 passing for 207 yards and a touchdown. check the touchdown out here. 


junior running back rodney hammond jr. leads the backfield for the panthers, and has been very effective in his role. the norfolk, va., native averages five yards per carry, and has tallied 526 yards this season. against the eagles, hammond had his best game of the season, rushing the ball 15 times for 145 yards and a score. take a look at that big run here. 


out wide, bub means is the name to know on the scouting report. the senior has had a career best season in 2023, hauling in 35 receptions for 636 yards and five scores. the lovejoy, ga., native had 9 catches and 109 yards against wake forest, showcasing his playmaking ability. watch one of his catches from the game against the demon deacons here. 


pittsburgh also sports a ball hawk in the secondary in cornerback m.j. devonshire. the redshirt senior has been a contributor once again for the panthers, coming off a 2022 season where he was named second-team all-acc as a returner and honorable mention at cornerback. in pittsburgh’s big win against louisville, he also picked off cardinal quarterback jack plummer for a touchdown that gave the panthers a 10-point lead that it held the rest of the game. check out that interception here. 


on saturday, duke will have a chance to send its seniors out on a high note at home. if the blue devils can slow down hammond and wells while protecting the football, they should be able to finish the regular season strong. 

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