CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Wednesday provided an opportunity for the ACC’s Coastal Division to participate in the conference’s media kickoff.
And while Clemson will have to wait until Thursday to partake in the festivities, the Tigers were obviously a hot topic of discussion.
Pitt hasn’t closed the gap between itself and Clemson and no one is more aware of that than Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi.
With a Clemson matchup on the horizon come Oct. 23, Narduzzi is preparing for his fourth matchup against the Tigers in what will be his seventh season in Pittsburgh.
The Panthers haven’t fared too well against Clemson across a previous six-year span. The Tigers are 2-1 and coming off a 52-17 rout in which they scored 31 points in the first quarter.
“The only time we’re going to close the gap is when we play them to win,” Narduzzi said. “The gap has not been closed from last year to this year.”
“Dabo does an incredible job, he added. “He’s an incredible coach. He’s built that program from the bottom up. They’re the measuring stick in the ACC and that’s what we got to get to.”
The Panthers are excited about the opportunity to host Clemson and potentially even the playing field.
“We have a chance to balance that off and we’ll do that at Heinz Field in front of our crowd,” Narduzzi said.
Pitt’s head coach isn’t the only Panther that’s excited about October’s showdown between the cross-divisional opponents. Pitt sophomore wide receiver Jordan Addison is looking forward to facing off against the Tigers.
He’s coming off a performance, where he hauled in five receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown, even though it came in a losing fashion.
“I’m really looking forward to going up against Clemson because they’re coming with a lot of attention,” Addison said. “That’s a really big game for me to get my name out there more. That’s a game that I definitely got circled on my schedule.”
Addison acknowledged that in Pitt’s 35-point defeat, it was difficult for the Panthers to go up against the Tigers. They didn’t have fans at any of their previous homes games, only to head down to Death Valley and have difficulty hearing calls.
The talented wideout did tip his hat towards Clemson cornerbacks Andrew Booth, Jr. and Malcolm Greene. Addison acknowledged that they were both tough matchups for him to go up against.
Addison’s quarterback echoed his sentiments.
Kenny Pickett, who returned to Pitt for a fifth season, knows just how meaningful this game will be to the Panthers’ 2021 season.
“Obviously it’s going to be a big game,” Pickett said. “We’ll see where we’re at headed into it. They run a lot on different, a lot of different schemes. It’ll be another tall task, a tall order for us. We just have to make sure we’re prepared as we can be going into that one.”