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Panthers in a much better mood

PITTSBURGH — Both quarterback Kenny Pickett and defensive tackle Jalen Twyman had career days in Saturday’s 20-10 win over visiting Ohio to help Pitt rebound from last week’s loss.

Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi felt it was not just Pickett but the entire offense rebounded from last week.

“Did (Pickett) bounce back or did everyone make catches for him? The receivers bounced back too. The offense bounced back,” Narduzzi said. “I’m happy for Kenny (Pickett). He’s a dang good quarterback.”

Pickett threw for 321 yards by completing 26 passes on 37 attempts. He threw for one touchdown — a 74-yarder to Maurice Ffrench — and did not throw an interception. Last week he completed 21 passes on 41 attempts for only 185 yards. He threw one touchdown, but was also intercepted twice.

“I think it was important for the whole team to have a bounce-back game, not just me,” Pickett said. “I thought we executed better today than last week. The receivers got open and the offensive line did a good job.”

Pickett did not realize during the game when he passed the 300-yard mark.

“I’m not sure where I am stat-wise during the game. Im just trying to score points and win the game,” Pickett said. “My teammates helped me out a lot.”

Twyman helped lead the defensive charge, which held the Bobcats to only a field goal in the first half and a touchdown in the second half. He had three sacks, the most by a defensive tackle in a game since Aaron Donald had three sacks against Utah in 2011.

In the off-season, Twyman switched to number 97, Donald’s old number when he played at Pitt. However, Narduzzi is not ready to christen Twyman as the next Aaron Donald just yet.

“Let’s not go too far. (Twyman) likes that number. Donald is his idol,” Narduzzi said. “I’ve been impressed with Jaylen. He’s been a different guy compared to last year and I think he’s just going to get better.”

Twyman is picking up the slack on the line this year as the Panthers have lost two starters for the season on the line already.

“It’s an honor to perform at a level to be mentioned in the same sentence as Aaron Donald,” Twyman said. “When the defensive line takes the field, we want to be felt.”

He knows the defensive line plays an important part but Twyman does not let the pressure bother him.

“Pressure only busts pipes and causes damage. I don’t feel any pressure,” Twyman said. “I understand the defense more now that I’m a year older. I was successful today. It was fun.”

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