Kenny Pickett passed for 302 yards and two touchdowns as No. 23 Pitt knocked off Clemson 27-17 Saturday afternoon at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field.
Pitt (6-1, 3-0 ACC), off to its best start since 2015, snapped a two-game losing streak against the Tigers, who had outscored the Panthers 94-27 in those games.
Clemson (4-3, 3-2) suffered a third regular-season defeat for the first time since the 2014 season.
Pickett guided Pitt to 464 yards, the most Clemson’s defense has surrendered this season. The Tigers entered the game ranked second nationally in scoring defense at 12.5 points per game, but the Panthers’ 27 points also matched the most the Tigers had given up this season.
Clemson’s offense continued to struggle, scoring 21 points or less for a fifth consecutive game.
It was a particularly long day for Clemson sophomore quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei, who completed 12-of-25 passes for 128 yards and two interceptions.
Pickett completed 25-of-39 passes and avenged a 52-17 loss at Clemson last season in which he was intercepted four times.
The loss was Clemson’s first by 10 points or more in ACC play since 2014.
Clemson grabbed a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter, capping an 80-yard drive with a one-yard scoring run by freshman running back Phil Mafah.
But Pitt scored two touchdowns in the final 3:18 of the second quarter to take a 14-7 halftime lead. Pickett connected with Jordan Addison for a 23-yard touchdown, then found Taysir Mack all alone behind the Clemson defense for a 39-yard touchdown. Addison’s touchdown catch was his 10th of the season.
The Panthers extended their lead early in the third quarter when SirVocea Dennis intercepted a shovel pass by Uiagalelei and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown.
Taisun Phommachanh replaced Uiagalelei at quarterback and promptly guided the Tigers to a 42-yard field goal by B.T. Potter, but Pitt’s Sam Scarton responded with field goals from 44 and 34 yards to push the Panthers to a 27-10 lead.
Uiagalelei re-entered the game and scored on a six-yard run with 7:56 remaining, but that was the Tigers’ final threat.
–Field Level Media