Pitt at Duke
Time: 7 PM CST, Saturday
Spread: DUK -5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Duke Blue Devils are 3-1 and are coming off two straight wins over Virginia Tech and Middle Tennessee. It also defeated North Carolina A&T but it lost its season opener 3-42 to then-No. 2 Alabama. The Devils host visiting Pittsburgh in week 6 as 5-point favorites according to college football oddsmakers, who also set the over/under at 49 points for the game. It will kick off at 7 PM CST Saturday on the ACC Network.
Duke ranks No. 46 in scoring offense at 33.5 points per game, but it has topped 40 points each of its last three weeks, all of which came in winning efforts. The Devils have limited opponents to 20.8 per game, but subtracting the bad loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide the Devils are holding teams to just 13.6 points per game with no team has scored more than Middle Tennessee’s 18 points.
The Blue Devils have ridden the arms and legs of dual-threat quarterback Quentin Harris. He has 842 passing yards and 10 passing touchdowns while having rushed for another 303 yards and two touchdowns, both of which lead the team. Deon Jackson is the top running back at 232 yards and two touchdowns, but he averages just 4.3 yards-per-carry, while Harris is good for nearly six-per-attempt. The Devils have five receivers with over 100 yards on the season, led by Noah Gray’s 22 catches, a team-high, for 172 yards. The tight end also has two of the team’s 11 receiving touchdowns, while Jalon Calhoun leads the team with three receiving touchdowns, ranking No. 2 in catches (18) and no. 2 in yards (159, tied for 2nd).
AJ Reed has been perfect at kicker for Duke. He is 5 of 5 on field-goal attempts, with a 50-yarder to his credit, in addition to also having hit all 17 of his PATs.
The defense has been led by Koby Quansah, Dylan Singleton, and Brandon Hill. Quansah has 1.5 sacks and 37 total tackles, while Singleton has 33 tackles (20 solos), and Hill has 25 tackles and a sack. Duke has 10 sacks on the season for a total loss of 56 yards by opposing quarterback. The Devils have just one interception thus far, though.
Pitt is 3-2 and coming off back-to-back wins over then-No. 15 UCF and Delaware. The UCF victory was a big one, ending the Knights 27-game regular-season win streak, but it still failed to propel Pitt to any sort of AP Ranking itself. A victory this week might take it a step closer or indeed put it in the top-25.
Pittsburgh is scoring just 19.2 points per game, but its defense has kept it in things, as the Panthers allow just 21 per. The pass offense has been top-40 in generating 278.4 yards per game, but the Panthers are getting precious little from its rush attack in averaging 126 yards per game and ranking No. 100 in the nation.
Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett has been passable, but not outstanding. He has 1,102 yards on the season at a 60.8 percent clip, but he has thrown just three touchdowns while having already recorded two interceptions. He also has struggled via the rush despite 35 attempts, picking up just 2.4 per attempt. None of the Panthers’ running backs have had great success, either. AJ Davis and Todd Sibley Jr both average 4.4 yards and 4.1 yards-per-carry respectively, but only Davis has rushed for a TD (He has two). No. 3 option Vincent Davis has two more touchdowns for all four of Pitt’s total, but he has under 100 yards on the season and just 23 attempts with several of Pickett’s own attempts probably having been better fielded by any of the true running backs. Taysir Mack leads all receivers in yardage with 426 yards, but he has just one TD reception.
Maurice French has two TD catches and a team-high 40 total catches for 3242 yards. AJ Davis has caught 12 passes out of the backfield for 179 yards. Tight end Nakia Griffin-Stewart has caught eight passes for 81 yards, but probably should be used more in red-zone situations. The Panthers have seven receiving touchdowns spread out among six different players, but getting Mack more looks for TDs as well as Griffin-Stewart might tip the offense up a needed notch if Pitt is going to win games without relying almost entirely based on its strong defensive unit.