North Carolina State 30 Pittsburgh 29
[Pittsburgh,PA] Heading into Saturday’s contest The 3-0 and 24th ranked Pitt panthers (The surprise team of this Atlantic Coast Conference football season) had their sites set on their first 4-0 start in 20 years. Coach Pat Narduzzi and his blue and gold put their unbeaten mark on the line hosting the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Heinz field.
NC State in the midst of a three game road trip (coming off a 45-24 lost to Virginia Tech) were looking for their 2nd win of the season.
On the second play of the game Pitt Quarterback Kenny Pickett threw a 75 yard dart to Freshman Wide Receiver Jordan Addison for the Panthers first Touchdown. The Wolfpack tied the score at 7 with a 17 play 6minute drive early in the 1st quarter.
Pitt trailed 17-7 in the second quarter after NC State Tight End Cary Angeline scored on a 35 yard pass from QB Devin Leary capping off a long Wolfpack scoring drive.
Midway through the second quarter Pickett survived a vicious hit from the packs’ freshman nickel back Josh Pierre- Louis ,who was flagged for targeting and ejected. the panther quarterback showed toughness and guts as he returned to the game two plays later and leading Pitt to 3 points courtesy of Kicker Alex Kessman’s 27yd FG.
Despite their efforts the blue and gold went into the locker room trailing 17-13 at the half. On their first possession of the second half. The panthers clawed their way down to the Wolfpack three yard line only to be denied on 4th down play as Running Back Vincent Davis found nowhere to run. Late in the third quarter the offense would flex again and this time successfully as Pickett scored on a 1yd run putting Pitt ahead by three points 20-17.
The panther defense pretty much dominated the second half until the Wolfpack’s Angeline burned the Pitt secondary for his second TD of the game with only 8minutes remaining the contest.
The Panthers showed resilence driving down to the pack’s 1 yard line and capping off the possession with a Pickett plunge. Pitt unsuccessful went for two points and the score remained at 29-24 with 1:44 left on the clock.
NC State Qb Devin Leary (28/44 336yds passing 4 tds) engineered a successful Wolfpack drive with little time on the clock and finished it off (with 23 seconds on the clock) connecting with his favorite target WR Emeka Emezie at the end of a 13yd TD pass.
Pitt got the ball back with 13 seconds remaining but at this point with no timeouts the panthers would need a miracle to win. The loss was a bitter pill to swallow for the Pitt (a 14 point favorite);but there were some bright spots in the panther performance. Pickett was 22/39 passing and finished with 411yds and a TD through the air. WR DJ Turner led panther receivers with 8 catches for 186 yds. The Panther ground attack was pedestrian as Pickett lead the way with 15 carries for 40 yards and 2 Touchdowns.
The Pitt loss ended a 3 game home winning streak. Next up for the Panthers is Boston College next Saturday 4pm at Alumni Stadium. The Eagles are led by former 5-star recruit and Pine Richland standout Phil Jurkovec. Meanwhile North Carolina State (who snapped a 5 game ACC conference play road losing streak ) will travel to Virginia next week to play the cavaliers at Noon.
Story by Keith Platt Jr. -UMT Sports
Photos Credit Vince Butts -UMT Sports