Pitt vs. Albany fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, September 1
Game Time: 3:30 pm ET
Venue: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Network: ACC Network
Pitt (0-0) vs. Albany (0-0) Game Preview
Albany is coming off a 4-7 season with a few new coordinators and just enough good returning parts to expect a solid year. However, this is scrimmage time for Pitt as it prepares for the showdown against Penn State.
The Panthers need to be sharp from the start, with this being a big season for the coaching staff and the program after a strange and disappointing losing season. The talent is there to at least go bowling, but the program needs to turn a corner and start being more of a player in the ACC race.
That’s what this game is for.
One Reason Why Albany Will Win
The Great Danes had a nice defense last season – especially against the run – but the offense sputtered and struggled. This time around, the offense should be able to help the cause a little bit more.
The backfield has some good pieces – starting with powerful RB Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks, who missed almost all of last year with a knee injury – and Donovan McDonald is a dangerous target and return man who can stretch the field.
If they can get on the board early, and if the defense can be the Albany defense – albeit against a team with a whole other level of talent – this might be a battle.
One Reason Why Pitt Will Win
Even with the improved offense, Albany has miles to go to be merely okay.
Nine starters are back on the Panther defense, and for a secondary that’s had so many problems at times in the Pat Narduzzi era, there won’t be any issues against a passing game that won’t hit on too many deep plays.
Go on a few early scoring drives, balance out the attack a bit to get everything working, and everything should be okay for the Panthers. The Great Danes won’t have the ability to mount any sort of a comeback.
What’s Going To Happen
Even against a strong FCS defense, this will be the Pitt offense that looks like it could be a thing.
Kenny Pickett will look like the quarterback who can carry the Panthers to a good season, and the young receivers will emerge early on.
They’ll get up to a quick 14-0 lead and coast from there. However, sort of like the 28-21 win over Youngstown State to open up last year, and the 28-7 win over Villanova to kick off 2016, this won’t be an ugly blowout.