No. 21 Pitt eyes rare 3-0 start against No. 24 Louisville

No. 24 Louisville (1-1, 0-1 ACC) at No. 21 Pittsburgh (2-0, 1-0), Saturday at noon ET (ACC Network).

Line: Pitt by 3.

Series record: Pitt leads 9-8.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

The Panthers are looking for some validation to go along with their solid start. Pitt overwhelmed overmatched Austin Peay in the opener and the defense dominated Syracuse in a convincing 21-10 win last week. The Cardinals are smarting after falling to Miami at home a week ago. Louisville believes it is building something under second-year coach Scott Satterfield but starting 0-2 in the league would provide a significant short-term dent in the program’s momentum.

KEY MATCHUP

Louisville QB Malik Cunningham against Pitt’s front seven. The Panthers have quietly developed one of the nation’s top pass rushes, an attack predicated on some serious athleticism along the defensive line combined with a secondary that forces quarterbacks to hold on to the ball a little longer than they’d like. Cunningham’s mobility is something the Panthers haven’t faced this season but he is gettable. Miami took him down three times, though Cunningham still threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns in the loss.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Louisville: WR Tutu Atwell set a school record with 1,276 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns a year ago. He hasn’t slowed down a bit in 2020. Atwell already has 15 receptions and two scores and plays much larger than his 5-foot-9 size.

Pitt: Senior DE Rashad Weaver did his best to make up for lost time in his 2020 debut. Weaver, who missed all of last season with a knee injury and sat out the opener against Austin Peay due to COVID-10 protocols, collected two of Pitt’s seven sacks against the Orange.

FACTS & FIGURES

The Panthers have won five of the last six meetings between the former Big East rivals and hold the only victory the teams moved to the ACC, a 45-34 triumph in 2015. … Louisville’s 39 plays of 10 are more yards are third-most in the country through two games. … Cunningham’s 26 completions of 10 or more yards are tops in the nation. … The Cardinals lead the ACC in total offense (501.5 yards). … The Panthers lead the nation in rush defense (26.0 yards per game), are third in total defense (154.0), fourth in pass defense (128.0) and sixth in scoring defense (5.0 ppg).

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