When the Tennessee Vols take on the Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday afternoon in Neyland Stadium, it won’t be the first time that Josh Heupel has stood across the sideline from Pat Narduzzi.
Heupel coached against Narduzzi in 2018 and 2019.
A Heupel-led UCF squad beat Pittsburgh 45-14 in 2018. In 2019, the Panthers got the best of the Knights, winning 35-34.
The 2019 game snapped a 25 game regular season winning streak by UCF. Pittsburgh won that game by using a trick play with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter.
Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett, who will be the Panthers’ starter on Saturday, caught the game-winning touchdown.
PHILLY SPECIAL FOR THE WIN! Pittsburgh ends #15 UCF’s dream of a perfect season, 35-34.
— CollegeFB News (@CollegeFBNCAA) September 21, 2019
Using a trick play wasn’t a one-time thing for Narduzzi in 2019. Pittsburgh used a similar play later in the 2019 season against Syracuse.
— #MidMajors (@MidnightCampus) October 19, 2019
Something else the Vols will need to watch for is Pitt players faking injuries to slow down Tennessee’s up-tempo offense. This is something that UCF felt happened in 2018 when the two teams met in Orlando. Narduzzi, however, denied that his players were faking injuries.
Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi was asked today about UCF’s claim that his players were faking cramps in order to slow their offensive pace. He denied it, saying players needed IVs throughout the course of the game. “I’ve cramped in a recliner before after some yard work,” he said. pic.twitter.com/UUFHcstF0n
— Brandon Helwig (@UCFSports) October 1, 2018
Trick plays and faked injuries. It sounds like it could be a wild afternoon on Rocky Top when Pittsburgh gives Tennessee its first big test of the Heupel era.
Featured image via Saul Young/News Sentinel via Imagn Content Services