Panther schedule features 7 home games

PITTSBURGH — The Pitt Panthers’ 12-game football schedule for 2019 was unveiled Wednesday by the Atlantic Coast Conference, and it features 11 teams that qualified for the postseason last year.

Pitt will host seven games at Heinz Field, including four ACC contests. The home season highlights:

The Panthers open the 2019 season on Aug. 31 against Coastal Division foe Virginia. Pitt hosts three non-conference opponents in September, including UCF on Sept. 21. Winners of 25 of their past 26 games, the Knights are coming off a 12-1 campaign, ranking as high as No. 11 in the final polls.

Other September non-conference contests include Ohio (Sept. 7), a perennial contender in the Mid-American Conference, and Delaware (Sept. 28), which advanced to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs in 2018.

Miami visits the Panthers on Oct. 26. It will be the Hurricanes’ first trip to Heinz Field since being upset by Pitt, 24-14, in the 2017 regular-season finale. Thursday night college football returns to Heinz when Pitt hosts North Carolina on Nov. 14.

The Panthers close the regular season with a home date on Nov. 30 against Boston College of the Atlantic Division.

Pitt plays its road opener at Penn State on Sept. 14. It is the last regularly scheduled game between the historic rivals.

The Panthers travel to Duke for their first ACC road game on Oct. 5. An annual encounter since 1955, Pitt faces Syracuse on a Friday night in the Carrier Dome on Oct. 18. Pitt plays at Georgia Tech on Nov. 2.

Pitt’s final regular-season road game will be at Virginia Tech on Nov. 23.

Hurts picks Oklahoma

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts has decided to transfer to Oklahoma.

Hurts made the announcement Wednesday in a story in the Players’ Tribune. He will be available immediately as a graduate transfer.

Hurts was a two-year starter who led Alabama to a pair of national championship games and was Southeastern Conference offensive player of the year as a freshman.

Tua Tagovailoa replaced Hurts at halftime against Georgia in the national title game after the 2017 season, then beat him out for the starting job heading into this past season and finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Hurts left Alabama with 5,626 yards and 48 touchdowns passing and 1,976 yards and 23 touchdowns rushing. There was speculation that he might transfer to Maryland because new head coach Mike Locksley was the offensive coordinator at Alabama. Also, quarterbacks coach Dan Enos is now the offensive coordinator at Miami, Florida, another spot some thought Hurts would consider.

He could have transferred earlier, but he stuck it out and rallied Alabama past Georgia in the SEC title game this past season.

As Oklahoma prepared to play Alabama in the College Football Playoff, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley had praise for Hurts.

“Could not be more impressed with Jalen Hurts, how he handled that just from afar,” Riley said. “Big fan of that kid and how that entire situation was managed.”

Oklahoma has a good history with transfer quarterbacks. Baker Mayfield transferred from Texas Tech before winning the Heisman at Oklahoma in 2017 and being drafted No. 1 overall in 2018. Kyler Murray transferred from Texas A&M before winning the Heisman at Oklahoma this past season and choosing to declare early for the NFL draft.

Hurts should help Oklahoma smooth its transition from Murray at quarterback. Last year’s backup, Austin Kendall, is expected to transfer. Tanner Mordecai, a freshman last season, is the only quarterback currently on scholarship for the Sooners. Five-star recruit Spencer Rattler, the consensus No. 1 quarterback in the Class of 2019, is committed to the Sooners.

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