PITTSBURGH (AP) — Kenny Pickett hit Lucas Krull for an 11-yard landing cross in extra time and No. 25 Pittsburgh’s protection did the remainder because the Panthers held off North Carolina 30-23 within the rain Thursday night time.
Pitt (8-2, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Convention) stored agency management on first place within the ACC’s Coastal Division with two weeks to go after blowing a 16-point lead earlier than amassing itself in extra time behind Pickett.
Pickett accomplished 25 of 43 passes for 346 yards with three touchdowns and an interception on an evening he turned the varsity’s profession chief in passing yards. His dart to Krull in the course of a downpour gave the Panthers the lead throughout the opening possession of the primary further interval.
North Carolina (5-5, 3-4) tried to reply however went nowhere on 4 performs, the final a fourth-down desperation heave by quarterback Sam Howell that was picked off by M.J. Devonshire. Howell handed for 296 yards with two touchdowns.
Pitt can earn its second Coastal Division title and journey to the ACC title recreation in 5 years if it wins out. The Panthers may additionally clinch with a victory over Virginia on Nov. 20 and any convention loss by Miami.
The Tar Heels had been trying to beat a ranked opponent for the second time in 5 days. But the magic they summoned whereas knocking off a then-unbeaten Wake Forest final Saturday vanished in extra time.
The anticipated shootout between two groups that includes NFL-ready quarterbacks averaging a mixed 80 factors a recreation by no means materialized. Pitt and North Carolina struggled to succeed in half that whole as Howell and Pickett spent a good portion of the night time beneath heavy duress.
The Panthers raced to a 17-point lead earlier than the Tar Heels had a primary down. Every of North Carolina’s first three drives resulted in sacks and the Tar Heels allowed 5 within the first half as Pitt went up 23-7 behind Pickett.
The tremendous senior threw for a pair of touchdowns and have become the Panthers’ profession chief in yards passing when he broke Alex Van Pelt’s mark of 11,267 with a 44-yard heave within the first quarter.
But Pitt additionally missed possibilities to blow it open. Sam Scarton missed an additional level, had a 54-yard subject objective fall brief within the difficult winds at Heinz Discipline and one other field-goal try blocked.
The Tar Heels ultimately made the Panthers pay. Howell discovered Antoine Inexperienced with a 23-yard landing cross within the third quarter to make it 23-13. Howell bulled his means over from 1-yard out on fourth down with 5:34 remaining to tug North Carolina inside three. Pickett’s fourth interception of the season on Pitt’s ensuing possession arrange Grayson Atkins’ tying 21-yard subject objective with 57 seconds remaining to power extra time.
North Carolina: When the Tar Heels can defend Howell and get stops on protection, they’re harmful. After they don’t, they’re a large number.
Pitt: The Panthers’ hope for this system’s first 10-win season since 2009 stays very a lot alive thanks partially to a protection that’s been cold and hot all season. Pitt discovered a option to make issues tough sufficient for Howell to construct a lead and Pickett’s poise in extra time helped the Panthers keep away from the sort of “Pitt being Pitt” loss that’s develop into a trademark of kinds for a lot of the final 4 many years.
The Panthers will keep within the polls although they may probably want some groups above them to falter over the weekend to make any form of main leap.
North Carolina: Get a breather of kinds when FCS-opponent Wofford visits Chapel Hill on Nov. 20.
Pitt: Pickett will make his closing look at Heinz Discipline — as a collegian at the very least — when the Cavaliers go to. Pitt has gained 4 of its final 5 conferences with Virginia.
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https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/11/12/pickett-no-25-pitt-escape-howell-unc-30-23-in-ot/ | Pickett, No. 25 Pitt Escape Howell, UNC 30-23 In OT – CBS Pittsburgh