Since 2012, Ohio has won against a Power 5 opponent three times. Two of those wins came against Kansas — who has a 14-71 record in that span — and the other win was against Penn State in 2012.
Power 5 wins don’t happen often for Ohio (1-0), but it has a decent shot at adding another game to that small list Saturday against Pitt (0-1) at Heinz Field.
Ohio’s offense clicked last week against Rhode Island. Pitt’s offense is eager to rebound after a tough loss to Virginia. Both teams can shape the outlook of their season with a win.
Below is a guide to gameday with how to follow along, depth charts, who has the edge and our predictions.
How to watch: The game can be watched on the ACC Network with Clay Matvick, John Congemi and Dr. Jerry Punch on the call.
How to listen: The game can be heard on the Ohio IMG Sports Network — Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius will be behind the mic. The broadcasts are available online through OhioBobcats.com and TuneIn.com/OhioBobcats.
Pitt depth chart
Three things to watch for
Ohio’s Defensive Line
Pitt returned just one starter from its offensive line last season, and the inexperience at the line showed last week against Virginia when quarterback Kenny Pickett was sacked three times. Virginia has a stronger defensive line than Ohio, but any pressure the Bobcats place on Pickett will go a long way toward stopping the Panthers offense.
Pitt’s Special Teams
The Panthers blocked a punt last week against the Cavaliers. Ohio’s punt team never saw the field last week against Rhode Island. Will there be any rust on special teams Saturday? Any miscues could be costly in a close game.
Odom is the No. 1 wide receiver on Ohio’s depth chart, but he only hauled in just one catch for 10 yards Saturday. The Bobcats offense did fine without him, but they’ll likely need more production from him against Pitt.
When Ohio has the ball: In his Monday press conference, Pitt head coach called quarterback Nathan Rourke “a baller” and touched upon how the senior went 16-for-22 for two touchdowns. The Panthers defense is both young and already beat up with two defensive linemen out for the season. If Ohio can get the ground game started early and set up play-actions, it could have some fun at Heinz Field.
When Pitt has the ball: Much like its defense, Pitt’s offense is relatively inexperienced. It has four new starters on the offensive line, two new running backs and very limited production at wide receiver. It does, however, return Pickett, who had the hot-hand in the ACC down the stretch last season. Ohio’s defense looked very vanilla last week against Rhode Island, and it’ll have to be better against a Power 5 team.
Special teams: Admittedly, a tough one to call. Pitt blocked a punt last week against Virginia, while Ohio’s punt unit never saw the field. Kicker Louie Zervos contributed 11 of the Bobcats’ 41 points behind two field goals and five extra points. Neither team was flashy on punt returns or kickoffs, either.
- News and notes from Solich's press conference
- Narduzzi's sentiments toward Solich
- Five fun facts about the University of Pittsburgh
- Week 1 Mid-American Conference round up and power rankings
- Bobcats in the NFL
- The backup quarterback spot remains open
- Ohio stock watch after its win over Rhode Island
- Running back De'Montre Tuggle's quest to make Ohio his home
- What to know about the Pitt Panthers
- Q&A with former Bobcat hero Dion Byrum
Sports Editor Anthony Poisal: Neither team had a defensive performance to remember last week, and both teams have an offense with quarterbacks capable of controlling a game. Coach Frank Solich knows how to keep up with a Power 5 foe. Ohio will do that against Pitt, but I think the Panthers still have a slight edge. Pitt wins 34-30.
Sports Editor Matt Parker: Anthony is right when he mentions that neither of the teams had the most memorable defensive effort in their respective games. Granted, the Bobcats played FCS Rhode Island last week, the offense was effective and I suspect it will feel like it has more to prove since it only had four drives in the first half - one of which was just a kneel down to end the half. A close game for sure, but history repeats itself. Ohio wins 31-23.
Guest picker Dion Byrum: “I want to be right on the point. I think we can score between 28-35 (points). We’re gonna kick a field goal in the fourth quarter to seal the game. Ohio wins 31-20.