(Charlotte, NC) The Pitt Panthers wanted their first trip to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championship Game to be a memorable one, especially ending with a win. Well, one out of two isn’t bad as the Panthers were blown out by the Clemson Tigers 42-10 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Clemson star tailback Travis Etienne, the 2018 ACC Player of the Year, rushed for 156 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, as the Tigers (13-0) won the conference title for the fourth consecutive season.

The Panthers (7-6) relied heavily on their rushing attack, finishing with 192 yards, the most by any team against the Clemson defense this season.

Behind 14-0 near the end of the first quarter, Pitt mounted a comeback, cutting the lead to four points after a 1-yard Qadree Ollison touchdown, capping off a six-play drive that started at the Clemson 39-yard line.

But the Tigers scored 14 quick points at the end of the second quarter and pulled away in the second half, avenging their 43-42 defeat to Pitt in Death Valley in 2016.

“I’d like to congratulate the Clemson Tigers,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said. “Obviously, they’re a great football team. They deserved to win the game. They played better than we did. We had a lot of unforced errors out there. Again, great defenses make you have unforced errors.”

The Panthers were penalized eight times and turned the ball over three times.

#30 QADREE OLLISON (L) ON THE MOVE( PHOTO: PITT FOOTBALL TWITTER)

Darrin Hall led the Panthers’ offensive attack, finishing with 86 yards on 14 carries, eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. Ollison also rushed for 56 yards on 13 carries with a score.

Hall joined Ollison with over 1,000 yards on the year, marking the first time in Pitt history that the team has two 1,000-yard rushers in the same season.

#22 Darrin Hall looking for room to run (Photo Credit: Pitt Football Twitter)

“Credit goes to the offensive line for that accomplishment,”Hall said of making Pitt history with Ollison. “But I’d give back every yard for a win tonight.”

Damar Hamlin led the defensive effort, finishing with a team-high eight tackles while Jason Pinnock was a stand-out performer in the secondary, recording three pass breakups. Pitt’s defense held the Clemson offense, which averaged 539.2 yards this season, to only 419 yards. It was the second-best defensive performance in 2018 against the undefeated Tigers.

The Panthers who are now have 7 wins against 6 losses have accepted an invitation to play  Stanford in the Sun Bowl

Please e-mail Ray at ray@rayporterjr72@gmail.com

Follow him@urbanmediaRay on Twitter

www.PittsburghPanthers.com

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