Paul Johnson zings Pittsburgh, Pat Narduzzi

Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi got in the first shot of the week, but Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson got the last laugh.

Perhaps irked by Narduzzi accusing the Yellow Jackets of playing “dangerous football,” Johnson sent the Panthers home with a subtle dig following Tech’s 35-17 win over Pitt on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Commenting on his team’s four lost fumbles, Johnson said it was disappointing “and we’ve got to clean that up, because against a good team, we won’t be able to survive.”

While Pitt is now 1-3, it was the sort of comment a coach might make after taking care of a lowly FCS team, not a division opponent. Johnson continued later in his postgame news conference after being asked about Narduzzi's comments, in which he alleged that Tech used illegal blocking methods, namely chop blocks.

“As a conference rule, we have to have, like, four ambulances at our games because we hurt so many people,” he said tongue-in-cheek. “Come on. Played 10 years, I can’t remember anybody that’s ever gotten hurt out there playing. That’s just trying to get the officials to call something that ain’t there.

“You want to know what’s dangerous? Dangerous is teaching your defensive linemen to hang onto offensive linemen when they’re trying to get to the second level, and then they get cut off. That’s dangerous. If that was my kid, I’d be upset if somebody told them to do that.”

In the postgame handshake with Narduzzi, Johnson said he didn’t bring up his comments, but just wished him luck. Asked for his thoughts about Narduzzi’s accusation, Johnson said, “I’ll take the high road on that one.”

That apparently was a reference to a comment Narduzzi made after another coach, Penn State’s James Franklin, took a swipe at Pitt. After the Nittany Lions’ 33-14 win over Pitt on Sept. 9, Franklin said that when Pitt beat Penn State last year, “it was like the Super Bowl, but for us this was just like beating Akron.”

Asked to respond, Narduzzi said, “They went low, we went high.”