Sep 23, 2019

ACC & Big 12 Week 4 Roundup: Pitt stuns UCF, ending Knights’ regular season win streak

No. 15 UCF saw its 27-game regular-season winning streak come to an end Saturday, as host Pitt upset the Knights 35-34 at Heinz Field. The loss was UCF’s first regular-season defeat since November 2016 and also marked Pitt’s first win over a Top 15 opponent since November 2017.

“Our kids needed that — they deserved that,” Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi said following the victory. “They worked their tails off for it, and that’s a good football team. So I give credit to [head coach] Josh [Heupel] and Central Florida. They fought, too. They came back, and we just made one more play than they did.”

After Pitt ran out to an early 21-0 lead, UCF responded with a 31-0 rally of its own before the Panthers pulled out the victory. The game-winning score came on a fourth-down trick play that Narduzzi dubbed “Pitt Special” — a variation of the “Philly Special” call the Philadelphia Eagles used during their win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII in February 2018.

“I mean, you’ve got to have belief,” Narduzzi told reporters of the play call. “The worst thing you can do to an offensive coordinator is say, ‘Are you sure?’ He’s got confidence, our kids got confidence. We talked about it on the sideline, let’s go, and our kids executed that last drive to perfection.”

Junior quarterback Kenny Pickett — who hauled in the game-winning touchdown as a receiver — threw for 224 yards and a touchdown on 25-of-47 passing in the win, while extending his streak of pass attempts without an interception to 139.

Defensively, the Panthers held a UCF offense that entered the game averaging 51.7 points and 604.3 yards of offense per game to 423 yards on the day.

“We can play with anybody if we execute and do the details — and we still made a lot of mistakes, guys,” Narduzzi said. “We left a lot of plays out on the field, but (this win) says a lot about what kind of character this football team does have.”

Now let’s check out a few more highlights from an exciting Week 4 in the ACC and Big 12:

Texas 36, Oklahoma State 30: The 12th-ranked Longhorns snapped a four-game losing streak against Oklahoma State — and a five-game losing streak against the Cowboys in Austin — as they topped the ‘Pokes at home for the first time since 2008.

Florida State 35, Louisville 24: Cam Akers ran for 112 yards and three touchdowns and grad transfer Alex Hornibrook threw for 255 yards and two scores in relief of injured starter James Blackman as Florida State outlasted the Cardinals for the Seminoles’ 300th all-time victory at Doak Campbell Stadium.

SMU 41, TCU 38: SMU improved to 4-0 for the first time since 1984 with a thrilling victory over No. 25 TCU in Fort Worth. The last two times TCU lost to SMU (2005 and 2011), the Horned Frogs went on to finish the season with 11 wins.

West Virginia 29, Kansas 24: Backup running back Martell Pettaway scored two second-half touchdowns as West Virginia held off Kansas in the Big 12 opener for both teams.

Boston College 30, Rutgers 16: Boston College earned its first road win over a Big Ten opponent since 2003 with Saturday’s victory in Piscataway. Junior running back AJ Dillon finished with 150 rushing yards and two touchdowns for the Eagles, marking his 14th career game with 100 yards or more and his 18th with multiple rushing touchdowns.

Appalachian State 34, North Carolina 31: Appalachian State linebacker and birthday boy Akeem Davis-Gaither blocked a game-tying field goal attempt as time expired, giving the Mountaineers their first win over a Power Five team since their 2007 upset of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

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