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Panthers Are Looking For Payback In Home Opener

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) - In 2012, Paul Chryst opened his first season as the head football coach at the University of Pittsburgh in the form of a 31-17 upset against Youngstown State.

On Saturday, the current head coach, Pat Narduzzi, will also begin his Pitt football head coaching career against Youngstown State, and he's planning to avoid the same outcome as his predecessor.

"To me, it becomes personal now that that happened, and I think it's great to play with an attitude and play angry," Narduzzi said. "And that's what we will try to do, put a little anger in a bottle and throw it out there at 1 o'clock."

Narduzzi said his team will be looking for payback against the Penguins, but he also expects Youngstown State to come out strong and play like they have something to prove, especially guys that are from Pennsylvania.

"They will come in ready to go, probably guys that would have liked to play at Pitt and didn't get recruited for whatever reason and have a grudge I guess whenever they come to Pittsburgh," Narduzzi said.

The Panthers will be without star wide receiver Tyler Boyd due to a suspension so everybody will have to step up on all sides of the ball to make up for his absence and start the season off with a win.

"We've got to be prepared, we've got to be great on offense, and we've got to be great on defense and special on special teams to come out with a victory," Narduzzi said.

Redshirt senior Lafayette Pitts remembers what it felt like to be upset by Youngstown State in 2012 and he is looking forward to playing them again.

"They came to compete and we came walking into the building thinking that we were just going to roll out and win the game, but they showed us that there's more than that with football. You've got to come out prepared and be willing to fight for it," Pitts said. "And that's what we are going to do this weekend, we are going to be ready."

Narduzzi spent eight years at Michigan State as the defensive coordinator so his new role as a head coach will be a change of pace, but he says he's not going to try to do too much.

"I'm just going to try to manage the game and give suggestions here and there about what we do but try to manage the game and let those guys coach," Narduzzi said.

When asked if he is feeling nervous for the home opener he said, absolutely.

"If you're not nervous than you probably aren't ready," Narduzzi said.

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