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9:00 AM PT10:00 AM MT11:00 AM CT12:00 PM ET4:00 PM GMT12:00 AM 北京时间9:00 AM MST11:00 AM EST, Sep. 24, 2022
Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  Attendance: 54,667

No. 24 Pitt readies for Rhode Island, Pat Narduzzi's alma mater

Rhode Island Rams at Pittsburgh Panthers

  1. Pittsburgh will be host for their first ever matchup with Rhode Island. The Panthers have each of their last 10 games against FCS opponents. Rhode Island had lost 16 straight games to FBS foes prior to defeating Massachusetts last season, 35-22.
  2. Panthers' defensive back Erick Hallett II recorded his second career multi-interception game in the team's previous outing versus Western Michigan. He has seven career interceptions for Pittsburgh, the most by any active ACC player.
  3. Pittsburgh is one of six teams this season to be ranked in the AP-Top 25 each week despite dropping a game this season. This is the first time that Pittsburgh has been ranked in each of the first four polls of a season since 2003.
  4. Rhode Island has had two passing touchdowns in each of their first three games to start the year. That is tied for the team's second most thru three games of season over the past 25 years (2018 -- 9).
  5. Pittsburgh's Jared Wayne has the second most receiving yards in the ACC with 265 yards on 13 catches (Boston College's Zay Flowers - 285). Wayne has had at least 80 receiving yards in each of his first three games played, the only player in the ACC to do so this season.

No. 24 Pitt concludes its nonconference schedule on Saturday afternoon when it hosts coach Pat Narduzzi's alma mater in FCS member Rhode Island.

FCS foes traditionally have provided little resistance for the Panthers (2-1), who are 19-1 in such matchups.

Israel Abanikanda finds himself in a tie atop the Atlantic Coast Conference in rushing (302 yards) after rolling up 133 in Pitt's 34-13 romp at Western Michigan last Saturday.

The Panthers revealed their hand early by rushing on 14 of their first 15 offensive plays. The reason to do so likely stemmed from both Abanikanda's success and Pitt's decision to start redshirt freshman quarterback Nate Yarnell, who received ACC Rookie of the Week honors following his performance against the Broncos.

"I told (Yarnell) before the game, 'I got you. No matter what, I got you. You've got no reason to be scared,'" Abanikanda told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "He showed that he's tough. I'm proud of him."

Yarnell completed 9 of 12 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown while playing in place of starter Kedon Slovis (undisclosed) and backup Nick Patti (ankle).

Narduzzi elected to play it safe with Slovis on Saturday despite the latter participating in practice all week prior to the game against Western Michigan.

Slovis, a transfer from USC, hasn't played since the second half of the Panthers' 34-27 overtime loss to Tennessee on Sept. 10.

While Narduzzi didn't reveal his plan for the game against Rhode Island, he did gush about Yarnell during Monday's press conference.

"Every day we'll find out," Narduzzi said. "I know we know a lot more and have a lot more faith from what Nate did on game day. You could see him in practice and you could see him on the scout field, but when you see how a guy operates the game, it definitely gives you an idea that we have another piece to the puzzle -- one we may have to use at another point in the season."

As for Narduzzi himself, Saturday's game may hold a bit of extra importance. He was a three-year starter at linebacker with Rhode Island from 1987-89, and he graduated from the school in 1990.

The Rams (2-1) followed up road victories over Stony Brook and Bryant by allowing Delaware to score the game's first 28 points last Saturday. Rhode Island attempted to rally before dropping a 42-21 decision.

"It was a very disappointing outcome to a game that was so highly anticipated," Rams coach Jim Fleming said, per the Providence Journal. "The work you put in to be able to achieve some respect -- all of a sudden it unfolds this way. It's the worst possible scenario."

Pennsylvania native Kahtero Summers reeled in a pair of touchdown receptions to boost his total to three over the last two games.

Ed Lee, who scored a touchdown in each of the first two games of the season, leads the team in catches (15) and receiving yards (265).

Kasim Hill has thrown at least two touchdown passes in seven straight games dating back to last season.

--Field Level Media

Updated September 19, 2022

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