If Chad Voytik is to get his playing career back on track, he’ll do so at a lower rung on the collegiate level.
Back in January, Pittsburgh announced that Voytik had decided to move on from the Panthers to pursue other opportunities elsewhere. If those other opportunities had included a move to another FBS program, he would’ve, as a grad transfer, been eligible to play immediately in 2016.
Instead of the FBS, however, it appears he’ll take the FCS tack.
Because Voytik will be playing at the FCS level as well as his status as a grad transfer, he’ll have immediate eligibility. This will be his final season of eligibility.
Voytik was Pitts’s starter in 2014, but lost the job last year to Tennessee transfer Nathan Peterman. With Peterman eligible for another season in 2016 and firmly entrenched as the starter, Voytik opted to transfer out.
In addition to EKU, Voytik had also considered Indiana and Memphis.
It may be hard to believe, but Miami is in position to end the season with nine wins. That assumes, of course, the Hurricanes avoid a second half meltdown against Pittsburgh and close out the year with a bowl win. For now, Miami should be feeling pretty good as the Hurricanes have stomped Pitt in the first half of an early kickoff in western Pennsylvania. Miami took a 23-3 lead into the half.
Miami has more than doubled the total offensive production of the Panthers, outgaining Pitt at halftime 248 yards to 102. The Panthers have just 36 passing yards and 66 rushing yards in the half. Pitt also had a turnover with Nathan Peterman having a pass picked off by Artie Burns.
Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya has completed 13 of 23 pass attempts for 166 yards, with Rashawn Scott on the receiving end of the touchdown play and leading the team with 50 receiving yards. Miami’s Joseph Yardley leads all players with 64 rushing yards. Pitt’s star receiver, Tyler Boyd, has just one catch for eight yards.
The Pittsburgh Panthers (7-3, 5-1 ACC) may still need a little help from their ACC friends, but they certainly forced UNC to keep their foot on the gas pedal coming down the stretch of the regular season. Pitt’s 31-13 victory at Duke (6-4, 3-3 ACC) kept the Panthers one game in the loss column of the Tar Heels (UNC had not played yet) as quarterback Nathan Peterman threw three touchdown passes.
After going into halftime tied at 10-10, Pitt took care of business in the second quarter with Peterman tossing a short touchdown pass to J.P. Holtz to take a 17-10 lead at the end of a 10-play, 81-yard drive to open the half. The Panthers again scored through the air on their next possession with Peterman connecting with Dontez Ford. Star wide receiver Tyler Boyd did not put up huge numbers catching the football (three receptions for 38 yards), but Boyd did help out on the ground with 79 rushing yards. Boyd did not catch a pass in the second half. Qadree Ollison was the leading rusher in the game with 110 yards and a score. Pitt’s defense also got the job done, with three turnovers nd holding Duke without a touchdown since the first quarter. Outside of a 77-yard gain by Duke quarterback Parker Boehme, Pitt allowed just 36 rushing yards in the game.
With the win, Pitt continues to keep a shot at the ACC Coastal Division crown alive, depending on what North Carolina does. The Tar Heels have Miami today, with Virginia Tech and North Carolina State each on the road after today. Pitt started the day a game behind North Carolina, and UNC owns the head-to-head tiebreaker to make it more of a two-game lead on the Panthers. With home games against Louisville (next week) and Miami (Nov. 28), Pitt will have a chance to keep the pressure on UCN down the stretch.
Duke is now eliminated from winning the ACC Coastal Division. The loss to the Blue Devils also means we are guaranteed to see a new representative of the division in the ACC Championship Game out of the Coastal Division. The only teams to represent the division since the first ACC title game in 2005 have been Virginia Tech (five times), Georgia Tech (four) and Duke (one). UNC, Pittsburgh and Miami have yet to play in the game, but are now the only possibilities to play Clemson this year.
Duke now has to shake off a three-game losing streak and will have to do so on the road for the remainder of the season. Duke visits Virginia next week and closes the regular season at Wake Forest.
After picking up a win on the east side of Pennsylvania last week, Notre Dame is looking to score a win on the western side of the commonwealth this afternoon. Things are looking good so far for the Irish, who lead Pitt 21-3 at the half.
Notre Dame struck early with a DeShone Kizer touchdown pass to Will Fuller on a 47-yard scoring play on the opening drive of the game. Kizer tossed his second touchdown of the day in the second quarter, this time to Torii Hunter Jr. inside the red zone for a 14-3 lead. Pitt’s lone score of the first half came on a Chris Blewitt field goal from 22 yards.
Pittsburgh had what looked to be a promising drive developing later in the second quarter, but a pass from Nathan Peterman was picked off at the Notre Dame 20-yard line by Mathias Farley. Pittsburgh’s defense came up to force a three-and-out, but the Irish would score once more before halftime. Kizer completed another touchdown pass to Fuller from 46 yards out to lift the Irish to a big 21-3 lead late in the second quarter. Fuller is now tied for the school record of 27 career touchdowns, a record currently shared with Jeff Samardzija.
Notre Dame running back C.J. Prosise did have to leave the game to receive medical treatment. Early reports suggest Prosise suffered a concussion in addition to a shoulder injury.
New Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi certainly has plenty of reasons to be feeling boastful right about now. His Panthers are fresh off a road win at Georgia Tech, sitting in first place in the ACC Coastal Diviosjn with a 5-1 overall record. Pitt is ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2010, and now Narduzzi is dropping some mild shots at Penn State. Narduzzi was asked about the play of his quarterback, Nathan Peterman, during Pitt’s recent run and Narduzzi dropped a not-so-subtle reference to the ongoing struggles at quarterback and playcalling at another school in the state of Pennsylvania; Penn State.
“You could have a talented quarterback with a bad play caller and make him look bad,” Narduzzi said. “You can see that around the country, some closer than others.”
One can only assume Narduzzi was referencing Penn State with quarterback Christian Hackenberg and offensive coordinator John Donovan. Donavan has come under fire his playcalling this season and a year and a half of disappointing results with Hackenberg at quarterback. Hackenberg shined as a freshman under former Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien, but has been average at best for much of the early goings in the James Franklin era in State College. While there is room for some excuses for Hackenberg’s lack of development (Penn State’s continued rebuilding on offensive line being the biggest culprit), there is still blame to direct toward Hackenberg for some decision-making errors along the way. That said, the bulk of the blame continues to fall on Donovan. It is Donovan’s job to put the offense in its best position to advance the football and that simply has not seemingly been the case since the start of the 2014 season for Penn State.
It is also worth noting Narduzzi is not simply spouting off as a head coach of another program in the state of Pennsylvania in an attempt to take a shot at a recruiting rival. He also speaks from firsthand experience. As defensive coordinator at Michigan State last season, Narduzzi coached the Spartans’ defense against Hackenberg, hodling him to just 21-of-45 for 195 yards and an interception. Michigan State beat Penn State 34-10 in the regular season finale.
Hackenberg was a five-star pro-style quarterback out of high school in Penn State’s Class of 2013.
With both Pittsburgh and Temple being ranked in the AP Top 25 this week, it marks the first time since November 12, 1979 that two schools from Pennsylvania were ranked in the AP poll and neither was Penn State. Penn State and Pitt have not played each other since 2000, but the two long-time instate rivals will revive their rivalry starting next season with the first in a four-game series. Whether Hackenberg will still be around remains unknown. His draft stock has dropped some, but a strong second half could ease some concerns about his NFL future.