Pittsburgh and Duke have both lost four of their last five games entering Saturday’s Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season finale in Durham, N.C.
The Blue Devils (6-5, 3-4) hope for home relief after losing 30-27 at Virginia last Saturday and 47-45 in double-overtime the previous week at North Carolina.
Duke is bowl eligible but on a downward spiral following a 4-0 start to the season.
“We have to very quickly try to figure out how to resolve it and fix it,” Duke coach Mike Elko said.
The Blue Devils, ranked for much of the season, won’t be able to repeat the nine-win season accomplished in 2022 in Elko’s first season.
“Obviously, a lot of people in our building and in our locker room want to make sure that this group goes out the right way on Saturday and has a really strong finish to what has been a really strong two years,” Elko said. “That kind of becomes a rallying cry for this week.”
Pitt (3-8, 2-5) halted a four-game skid by defeating Boston College 24-16 last Thursday in its home finale.
“Things haven’t gone our way in a lot of games, but I couldn’t be prouder of our football team,” Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi said.
This will be their final game, but a positive outcome could help set the tone for the offseason.
“You have to focus,” Narduzzi said. “Just focus and take care of the details, and good things happen.”
Pitt will have quarterback Nate Yarnell at the controls for his third career start. He passed for 207 yards and a score and also rushed for a touchdown against Boston College.
“He protected the ball and gives you a chance to win a football game,” Narduzzi said. “He just takes care of the details.”
Pitt has won all seven meetings against Duke since Narduzzi became the head coach in 2015, including a 54-29 rout on the most recent trip to Durham in 2021.
–Field Level Media