Pickett, No. 25 Pitt Escape Howell, UNC 30-23 ot. In

PITTSBURGH (NWN) — Kenny Pickett hit Lucas Krul for an 11-yard touchdown pass in overtime and the No. 25 Pittsburgh defense did the rest as the Panthers held North Carolina 30-23 in the rain Thursday night.

Pitt (8-2, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) maintained firm control of first place in the ACC’s Coastal Division and went on for two weeks after holding a 16-point lead before collecting himself in overtime behind Pickett. .

Pickett completed 25 of 43 passes for 346 yards with three touchdowns, and in one night he became the school’s career leader in the passing yard. His dart to Krul in the middle of the rain gave the Panthers the lead during the opening possession of the first extra period.

North Carolina (5-5, 3-4) attempted to respond but went nowhere on four plays, a fourth-down frustration by last quarterback Sam Howell who was picked up by MJ Devonshire. Howell covered 296 yards with two touchdowns.

Pitt could earn his second Coastal Division title and travel to the ACC title game in five years if he wins. The Panthers also went on to win on November 20 with a win over Virginia and a defeat in any conference by Miami.

The Tar Heels were trying to beat their opponent for the second time in five days. Yet the magic he called in an unbeaten Wake Forest knock last Saturday seemed to have vanished in overtime.

The expected shootout between two teams featuring an NFL-ready quarterback averaging a combined 80 points never materialized a game. Pitt and North Carolina struggled to reach half the total as Howell and Pickett spent a significant portion of the night under heavy pressure.

The Panthers took a 17-point lead before the Tar Heels went down first. Each of North Carolina’s first three drives ended in sacks and the Tar Heels allowed five in the first half as Pitt went 23-7 behind Piquet.

The super senior threw for a pair of touchdowns and became the Panthers’ career leader when he broke Alex Van Pelt’s mark of 11,267 with a 44-yard heave in the first quarter.

Yet Pitt also missed his chances to open it. Sam Skarton missed an extra point, a 54-yard field goal was cut short in difficult winds at Heinz Field and another field-goal attempt was blocked.

The Tar Heels eventually paid off the Panthers. Howell found Antoine Greene with a 23-yard touchdown pass to make him 23-13 in the third quarter. Howell made his way from 1-yard to fourth with 5:34, remaining to drag North Carolina to within three. Piquet’s fourth interception of the season on Pitt’s ensuing possession set off a 21-yard field goal from Grayson Atkins with 57 seconds left to force overtime.

takeaway

North Carolina: When Tar Heels Can Howl and Stop on Defense, They’re Dangerous. When they don’t, they are a mess.

Pitt: The Panthers’ hope for the program’s first 10-win season since 2009 is very much alive, thanks to a defense that has been hot and cold throughout the season. Pitt found a way to make things difficult enough for Howell to build up the lead, and Piquet’s chivalry in overtime helped the Panthers avoid the pitfalls of “being a Pitt” that had been a fixture for most of the past four decades. The type has become a trademark.

election effect

The Panthers will remain in the polls, though they’ll need a few teams above themselves to falter over the weekend to make any big jumps.

next

North Carolina: When FCS-rival Wofford visits Chapel Hill on November 20, there’s a relief of sorts.

Pitt: Piquet would make his final appearance at Heinz Field – at least as a collegiate – when the Cavaliers traveled. Pitt has won four of his last five meetings with Virginia.

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