Catching Up with College Football: Pitt Panthers pull off historic win against New Hampshire Wildcats


Photo by Antonio Rossetti

Pitt vs. New Hampshire

Written By Antonio Rossetti, Co-Sports Editor

Sept. 25, 2021 marked week four of college football, and many teams got their first glimpse of conference play. Although non-conference play gives teams exciting matchups throughout the first couple of weeks, conference play is where teams make or break their season.

For the West Virginia Mountaineers, they played their first Big 12 conference game of the year. On the other hand, the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Pitt Panthers wrapped up their non-conference schedules before they return to conference play next week. This column will recap the results of Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia in their fourth games of the season.


The Pitt Panthers played against the New Hampshire Wildcats. The Panthers are coming off of a 44-41 upset loss against the Western Michigan Broncos.

The Panthers entered the game with a 2-1 record. Before losing to the Broncos, the Panthers defeated the UMass Minutemen and the Tennessee Volunteers in back-to-back weeks.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats came into the game 3-0, following a 19-13 victory over the Lafayette Leopards. Despite having an undefeated record, the team is an FCS school that plays subdivision talent.

Pitt started the game strong, forcing a safety one minute into the game. After the safety, the Panthers followed up with a sustained drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Kenny Pickett.

The Panthers’ early splurge of scoring didn’t end there. On the next New Hampshire possession, Dammari Mathis returned a 35-yard interception for a touchdown. Pitt would force the Wildcats to punt, which led to a 15-yard touchdown run for sophomore Israel Abanikanda. After another stop on defense, the Panthers scored on a 12-yard touchdown pass from senior Kenny Pickett to senior Shocky Jacques-Louis, increasing their lead to 28-0.

New Hampshire scored their first touchdown at the beginning of the second quarter after a 4-yard touchdown pass from Sean Coyne to Bret Edwards. Nevertheless, this would be their first and only touchdown.

On Pitt’s next possession, Kenny Pickett connected with sophomore Jordan Addison for a 24-yard touchdown pass. Pickett threw two more touchdown passes before the half’s end. One of those passes was to senior wide receiver Taysir Mack.

In the second half, the onslaught continued. Pitt would outscore their opponent 28-0 in the second half. Three of those touchdowns were from freshman running back, Rodney Hammond. He went on to finish with 100 yards rushing on 17 carries.

Pitt’s 49 unanswered points capped off a 77-7 victory. The team was led by Kenny Pickett, who completed 24 out of 28 passes for 403 yards and five touchdowns. Jordan Addison was also a game-changer, tallying 179 receiving yards and scoring 3 touchdowns.

The Panthers’ victory was their most points scored in a game since 1926 when they defeated Westminster College by the score of 88-0. This offensive performance was comparable to Pitt’s 76-61 victory over the Syracuse Orange in 2016.

The Panthers crushed the New Hampshire Wildcats and aim to continue their success when they travel to Atlanta, taking on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

Penn State

The sixth-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions played the Villanova Wildcats in their fourth game of the season at Beaver Stadium. This is Penn State’s third consecutive home game.

The Nittany Lions come into the game with a 3-0 record. Last week, they defeated the 22nd-ranked Auburn Tigers, which was their second win over a top-25 opponent this season.

The visiting Villanova Wildcats are also unbeaten with a 3-0 record. However, they are an FCS school and have yet to play an FBS opponent this season. Last week, they defeated the Richmond Spiders, 34-27.

The Nittany elected to receive and started with a touchdown within the first three minutes of action. Senior quarterback Sean Clifford connected with senior wide receiver Jahan Dotson on a 52-yard touchdown pass.

On Villanova’s first drive, they were forced to punt. Penn State drove down the field but missed a field goal. The Wildcats kicked a field goal before the end of the first quarter. Penn State led after one quarter with a 7-3 lead.

Penn State opened the second quarter with a 52-yard touchdown pass from Sean Clifford to sophomore wide receiver, Parker Washington. The Nittany Lions would shut down the Wildcats’ offense for the remainder of the quarter. After a 29-yard field from senior Jordan Stout, the Nittany Lions led by the score of 17-3.

Penn State wasted no time to begin the second half. 46 seconds into the start of the third quarter, Sean Clifford connected with sophomore wide receiver, KeAndre Lambert-Smith for an 83-yard touchdown pass. At the end of the third quarter, Parker Washington tallied his second receiving touchdown of the game.

In the fourth quarter, Tyler Warren scored his first career college touchdown after a 3-yard rush. Villanova would score two touchdowns late, but the damage was done. Penn State would win by the final score of 38-17.

Penn State was led by Sean Clifford. The senior quarterback completed 19 of 26 passes for 401 yards and 4 touchdowns. Penn State finished with 429 passing yards. 148 of those yards came from wide receiver, Parker Washington.

The Penn State Nittany Lions look to continue its win streak next week at home against the Indiana Hoosiers.

West Virginia

The West Virginia Mountaineers played on the road against the fourth-ranked Oklahoma Sooners. This is WVU’s second road game of the season.

The Mountaineers entered the game with a 2-1 record. Last week, WVU defeated the 15th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies at home. The Hokies are one of the Mountaineers’ key rivals.

The Oklahoma Sooners came into the game with a 3-0 record. Last week, they defeated their renewed rival, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 23-16.

In the first quarter, West Virginia stuck first after a 2-yard touchdown run by a freshman quarterback, Garrett Greene. Nonetheless, the Sooners followed up with a quick drive, which led to a 5-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Spencer Rattler to junior tight end Austin Stogner.

Both defenses would prevail for the rest of the half. WVU and Oklahoma forced an interception in the second quarter. Mountaineers kicker Casey Legg would kick a last-second 25-yard field goal to take a 10-7 lead at halftime.

At the beginning of the second quarter, Oklahoma kicker Gabe Brkic tied the game with a 28-yard field goal. However, the Mountaineers responded with a 21-yard field goal. The Mountaineers gained momentum after turning the Sooners over on downs.

Despite the stop on defense, the Mountaineers were forced to punt after a three-and-out. This led to a sustained drive that resulted in a 35-yard field goal, tying the game 13-13.

West Virginia began to move the ball and drive on the Oklahoma defense. Late in the game entering field goal territory, WVU botched a snap and fumbled the ball backward. Although they would recover the football, the Mountaineers lost 21 yards and took them out of field goal range. It was 3 and 33 and they were unable to convert on third down. WVU was forced to punt.

West Virginia’s mishap led to an 80-yard drive that ended with a Gabe Brkic 30-yard field goal as time expired. The Sooners squeaked by, winning 16-13. This was Oklahoma’s eighth straight win against West Virginia.

The Sooners were led by Spencer Rattler, who completed 26 of 36 passes for 256 yards and 1 touchdown pass. Senior wide receiver Michael Woods II had 8 receptions for 86 yards.

The WVU offense was led by Bryce Ford-Wheaton. The junior wide receiver would finish with 9 receptions, along with 93 yards. The Mountaineer defense tallied four sacks as a team. Two of those sacks were by senior defensive lineman Taijh Alston.

Although the Mountaineers lost in a disappointing fashion, they look to bounce back next week at home against the visiting Texas Tech Red Raiders.