PITTSBURGH -- For the second straight season, Pitt has knocked off the No. 2-ranked team in the country, this time beating Miami 24-14. The Panthers beat Clemson last season 43-42 in Week 10. They ended Miami’s 15-game win streak -- and potentially its hopes of making the College Football Playoff.
Clemson still made the playoff last season after its loss to Pitt, eventually winning the national championship, but it also got help when No. 3-ranked Michigan and No. 4-ranked Washington lost the same week.
Miami won't get the same help, and although it had already clinched the Coastal Division of the ACC prior to this game, the Hurricanes will face the Tigers in the ACC Championship Game. A win in that game might be enough to keep Miami in the playoff, but a loss could put the Hurricanes on the outside looking in.
The performance against Pitt doesn't give Miami a lot of confidence heading into that championship game, as the team had a slow start for the second straight game. Pitt got out to an early lead in the first quarter and again in the second, and never relinquished the lead from there.
The Panthers did it behind freshman quarterback Kenny Pickett, who threw for 193 yards in his first start and ran for two touchdowns. Pickett was the first true freshman quarterback to start for Pitt since Pat Bostick did it in 2007, and he showed confidence and poise, making big plays with his arm and feet.
The Miami defense didn't give up many big plays, but Pickett and the offense kept chunking away. Despite two forced turnovers from the Miami defense, Pitt still found a way to gain 345 total yards and come out on top.
The Miami offense did not find the same success, as quarterback Malik Rosier struggled, throwing for 187 yards and only completing 44 percent of his passes. Rosier was eventually pulled in the fourth quarter, replaced by sophomore Evan Shirreffs, but he was put back in the game after Shirreffs failed to get anything going for the offense.
Rosier and the offense only scored seven points through the first three quarters, which was the fewest they had scored all season, and he was the team's leading rusher at the time he was replaced.
The Canes still have much to play for, but their performance over the past two games has not been inspiring.