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The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

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The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

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Dionte Johnson Finally Finds the Endzone, Propels Steelers to win on PrimeTime

Recap of Tennessee Titans @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Sarah Seader
Weekly Professional Football Recap

The first NFL game of the ninth week of the season took place at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, as the Tennessee Titans (3-4) came to town to take on the Steelers (4-3).  Tennessee moved forward with rookie quarterback Will Levis, after he threw for four touchdowns in his NFL debut last week, and now he was set to start against Pittsburgh.  On the other side, Kenny Pickett, even on only four days of rest, was clear to start for the Steelers after leaving last week’s game due to injury.

This week’s game felt more important than most.  Sitting at 4-3 and getting close to the halfway point of the season, the difference between a 4-4 record and a 5-3 record felt significant, and the city was ready for a PrimeTime game at Acrisure Stadium.

For the first time all season, the Steelers looked really impressive on their first drive of the game.  Pickett was moving the ball all around, throwing to five different players on his first five attempts. He capped off the first drive of the game with a powerful 10-yard run by Najee Harris, as he seemed to be heating up on the ground as well.  The Steelers managed to take an early 7-0 lead.

The Titans managed to have a somewhat impressive first drive of their own, as they went 72 yards on 14 plays, but were stopped when they got to the 10-yard line, and settled for an early field goal.  T.J. Watt came in clutch with a crucial sack on 3rd and 5 from the 10-yard line that forced the Titans to bring out their kicker.

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The game began to slow down a little bit, as both offenses failed to get a first down on the next few drives, and it began to feel like the Steelers football we all have been too familiar with this year.

Will Levis looked sharp early on, as he was getting pressured early and often, and stuck in there every time, delivering some good throws.  He led the Titans on another long drive, amounting to 73 yards on 11 plays.  Running back Derrick Henry did most of the work, as he ran for 38 of those yards and found the endzone on a halfback dive up the middle, giving the Titans their first lead of the game, 10-7.

On the Steelers next drive, the running game really started to get going, as Jaylen Warren was able to break off back-to-back 15 and 14 yard runs to get Pittsburgh in scoring position inside the 10-yard line.  However, penalties seemed to be the Steelers’ biggest enemy in this game. A “too many men on the field” call moved Pittsburgh from the 6-yard line to the 11-yard line, where the Steelers would stall out and settle for a field goal to tie the game up at 10.

With just over a minute to play in the first half, Will Levis took over as he completed four straight passes for 56 yards, including back-to-back 20+ yarders. This put the Titans in field goal range, where they would end the half by sending one through the uprights.  At the half, Titans were up 13-10.

The two teams would trade field goals coming out of the half, with the Steelers’ coming on a 15-play drive that took nearly nine minutes off the clock. The drive was highlighted by the running back duo of Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren once again.  After exchanging field goals, the score was now 16-13. The Titans still held the lead going into the fourth quarter.

After an early punt from Tennessee in the final quarter of play, the Steelers managed to fight through adversity and put together a solid drive, despite starting at their own 8-yard line.  With just over five minutes left in the game, the Steelers faced a 3rd and 6 from their own 45-yard line. Kenny Pickett managed to step back and throw a deep ball down the right side to Dionte Johnson for 32 yards and a first down, at the Titans 23-yard line.  Dionte was putting together a big night once again, as his return from injury has been huge for Pittsburgh.

Following the big play to Dionte, Jaylen Warren found his way through the defense and almost managed to find the endzone but was tackled at the 1-yard line, for a 22-yard run.  Jaylen put together one of the best games of his young career, as he carried the ball 11 times for 88 yards, while also catching 3 passes for 25 more yards.

Two plays later, Kenny Pickett would find Dionte Johnson once again, but this time in the end zone, an unfamiliar place for Dionte as it was his first touchdown in 668 days.  His last touchdown catch was from the hands of Ben Roethlisberger, who retired after the 2021-22 season.  The touchdown put the Steelers ahead by four, 20-16, with four minutes left in regulation.

The Titans would turnover the ball on downs on their next possession, but managed to get the ball back one final time with just over a minute and a half left to play, and one timeout.  With the help of some penalties against Pittsburgh, Tennessee managed to get onto the Steelers’ side of the field.  On a 4th and 7 on their own side of the field, Will Levis threw an incompletion that was called back due to defensive holding on Joey Porter Jr., which was his fourth penalty of the game.  The only pro for Pittsburgh was the Titans being down by four points, resulting in Tennessee needing a touchdown and being unable to settle for a field goal.

With time running out, Levis looked to the end zone where linebacker Kwon Alexander came up with the game-sealing interception.  The Steelers would sneak out of Thursday Night Football with a 20-16 win.

Pittsburgh improves to 5-3 and has the last of their three-game homestand next Sunday against the Green Bay Packers (3-5).  Kenny Pickett ended the day 19/3swe cv0 (63%),160 yards, and a touchdown.  Dionte Johnson pulled in seven catches for 90 yards and a touchdown.

Tennessee falls to 3-5 and will travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers (3-5) on Sunday.  If there is anything the Titans can take away from this game, it is that Will Levis is the real deal, and with the right coaching, he has what it takes to be a great quarterback in this league.

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About the Contributors
Andrew White, Sports Editor

Andrew White is the Sports Editor and serves as a staff writer for the CalTimes.  He has a deeply engraved passion for sports and loves to inform the community about the local teams, both on and off campus. He is a Senior here at PennWest California, majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in Business Management.

Growing up in Brownsville, PA, Andrew is a die-hard Yinzer and will always have a place in his heart for the city of Pittsburgh and where he came from.  He serves as a play-by-play commentator for California’s basketball teams and hopes to land a career in Broadcasting, Public Relations, or Media Writing down the line, with his main goal being finding success as a play-by-play commentator.

Andrew is involved in CUTV, WCAL, CalTimes, and dips his hands in some graphic design work as well. He will be graduating in May and looks forward to his next steps of his career past PennWest California. He is the son of Tami and Stephen White of Brownsville, PA.

Sarah Seader, Editor-in-Chief

Sarah Seader is the Editor-in-Chief and a Staff Writer for the CalTimes and a Senior Honors Student at PennWest California, pursuing two degrees in Business Administration Management and Management Information Systems with a Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship as well as a Data Science Certificate. Sarah serves as the PennWest California Student Trustee.

Sarah is involved serving as the President of the SAI Board of Directors, President of DECA, President of Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD), Student Government Executive Board serving as Vice President, Vice President of Finance Club, Accounting Club Treasurer, and serves as the Treasurer on the Student Honors Advisory Board (SHAB).

Sarah is also a member of Women United, CUTV, WCAL, New Life, STAND, American Sign Language (ASL) Club, American Marketing Association (AMA), Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), Student Activities Board (SAB), Vulcan Gaming Club, President's Leadership Academy (PLA), The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), and serves as a Peer Mentor and Honors Coach.

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