The Miami Hurricanes beat the Panthers 38-34 at Heinz Field on Saturday, behind the big day of first-year quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, with throws from 428 yards and three touchdowns.
Behind Van dyke, the Hurricanes entered the stadium full of energy, with renewed confidence after last week’s victory over the previous standings N ° 18 NC State.
The Panthers entered the game ranked # 17 in the AP poll – his best mid-season ranking since 2009 – offering Miami the opportunity to make the history of the program. Hurricanes have never won back-to-back matches against ranked opponents as an unranked team in their history, a feat they accomplished on Saturday.
Pitt appeared to come out balanced and ready to play as Pickett connected with the freshman tight end Gavin Bartholomew and senior wide receiver Taysir Mack for long wins, placing the Panthers on the one-yard line. Sophomore running back Israel Abanikanda did the rest, diving into the end zone to give the Panthers a 7-0 in the lead.
The Panthers’ rushed offense didn’t have many chances after that point and head coach Pat Narduzzi believed it was an effect of falling behind early.
“We were playing from behind at the start,” Narduzzi said. “It was more about what we did than what they did. “
Van Dyke showed his balance early in the game, connecting with the first-year wide receiver Key’Shawn Smith on a 57-yard connection to quickly put Miami deep into Pitt’s territory. Soon after, the freshman quarterback found a tight freshman end Elie Arroyo on a 20-yard touchdown pass, stopping the game at seven.
After the Panthers went for the first down on the fourth down and failed, the Hurricanes had the opportunity to take the lead. This is exactly what they did. Only three games in the drive, Van Dyke found the junior tight end Will mallory for 57 yards, giving the Hurricanes a 14-7 lead.
Pitt went three-and-out on his next drive and quickly gave up another score. first year running back Jaylan knighton found the end zone on the second play of the Hurricanes push, rushing for 40 yards to put the score up to a 21-7 lead. Junior linebacker SirVocea Dennis said after the game that missed tackles proved to be costly.
“We just have to tackle, to be honest we just have to make plays,” said Dennis. “I don’t think we’ve done well enough tonight, and on this record and on this game.”
Miami amassed over 200 yards in its first 10 games of the game. The Panthers responded with a long run to get into the red zone, but the Hurricane defense didn’t break, forcing a second-year field goal attempt from Pitt. Sam scarton converted, reducing the deficit to 11 points.
The last play of the first quarter was a record for Pickett, whose 39-yard pass to Jordan Addison propelled him over Alex Van Pelt for the highest total offensive distance in Pitt’s football history. Pickett capped his historic training with a touchdown pass to Abanikanda to bring the Panthers down to under four.
A 34-yard punt from the junior punter Lou hedley gave the Panthers a favorable position on the field and began their training at the Miami 45-yard line. It was ultimately for nothing, as Pickett threw his second interception of the season on the first play of the order. Knighton found the end zone four games later for his second touchdown of the day, giving the Hurricanes a 31-17 lead – sucking the energy of the home crowd.
The Panthers rolled onto the field at the end of half-time and Narduzzi sent his kicking unit onto the field to attempt a 49-yard field goal. The kick went missing the upright and the Panthers came out empty, leaving Miami to take a 31-17 lead in the half.
On the Panthers’ first chance offensively in the second half, second wide receiver Jaylon barden had his best punt return all season, turning it over 32 yards to put the Panthers on the Miami 27-yard line.
The Panthers have capitalized this time around. Pickett found the junior catcher Jared wayne in the end zone for 12 yards. The catapulted score Pickett on Dan Marino for all-time touchdowns, with 83.
The momentum began to change as the Panthers stopped the Hurricane offense on back-to-back practices to open the half. Pickett charged up the field again, leading a 91-yard rush, ending in a 19-yard touchdown pass to Barden, tying the game at 31.
The game wasn’t tied for long, with the Hurricanes having an answer for whatever the Panthers threw at them. The Hurricanes took the lead in practice that followed, with Van Dyke connecting with Smith again, this time for a 13-yard touchdown that gave them a 38-31 lead.
The Panthers swept across the field and came inside the Miami ten-yard line, but the Hurricane defense held their own again. The Panthers settled for a placement to reduce the deficit to four.
The Hurricanes threatened to put the game out of reach, but super-senior linebacker John Petrishen knocked out Van Dyke, giving the Panthers their first chance to take the lead since their first practice of the game.
Pickett pushed the Panthers deep into Miami territory, then threw his second interception of the game, giving the Hurricanes a chance to put the game on the sidelines. Addison said he and Pickett weren’t on the same page on this piece.
“It was a misunderstanding,” Addison said. “I feel like I could have turned my head earlier to see the ball, but we’ll fix it.”
The Panthers were inches away from a safety in the first game of practice, which would have made the ball on Pitt’s offense, but officials felt Knighton was out of the end zone. Petrishen said after the game the defense needed to respond better to the controversial appeal.
“No matter what the call is, you have to go back and move on to the next game,” Petrishen said. “I was trying to rally the troops after that call because I saw the guys were frustrated. You have to move on, whatever the call.
The Hurricanes had a first down on that same practice, but second safety Brandon Hill forced a fumble and knocked the ball behind the first scorer, short of sticks, for a fourth down. Upon examination, the ball was returned to the 29-yard line, good enough for a first down, ending the game at 38-34.
The Panthers’ already slim playoff hopes fizzled out on Saturday in a loss that epitomized why football is a game of thumbs up.
Pitt will be back in action next Saturday at noon against the Duke Blue Devils on ACC Network.