The No. 18 Pittsburgh Panthers clinched the ACC Coastal title on Saturday evening with a 48-38 home win over the Virginia Cavaliers.
“Wow,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi opened the postgame press conference. “What a ball game. I couldn’t be prouder of our football team. Not an easy game. Good football team, but our guys hung in there from the first minute to the 60th minute.”
Pitt went scoreless in the first quarter but got a touchdown early in the second with an 11-yard pass from redshirt senior quarterback Kenny Pickett to sophomore wide receiver Jordan Addison. They proved to be a strong duo, recording four touchdowns together throughout the night.
Not a bad Senior Day for Pickett, who completed 26 of 41 passes for 340 yards. It was also a pretty good day for Addison, a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award, an honor given to the top receiver in college football. He recorded 202 yards on Saturday.
The Panthers finished the first half with a slight 24-21 lead over Virginia. The game remained close as both teams registered 10 points in the third quarter, so it came down to the last 15 minutes.
A 1-yard rush by freshman running back Rodney Hammond Jr. put Pitt ahead when the clock read 9:43 in the last period. However, Virginia was quick to reply. When the scoreboard showed 9:18 left, a pass from the Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong reached senior wide receiver Ra’Shaun Henry for a 39-yard touchdown.
Pitt’s defense stopped the visitor team from scoring again. A 62-yard pass from Pickett to Addison became the last touchdown of the night with 2:10 left on the clock.
“Another gutsy performance for Kenny Pickett, him and Jordan Addison,” Narduzzi said. “Maybe they’re a tie for the Heisman. If Jordan Addison didn’t get the Biletnikoff today, I don’t know who does.”
This win secured Pitt’s spot in the ACC championship game on Dec. 4, which will take place in Charlotte, N.C. against a still undetermined winner of the Atlantic division.
Pitt will play its last game of the regular season on the road against Syracuse on Saturday, Nov. 17.
“Coastal champions, that is really not what our goal is. It’s to be ACC champions,” Narduzzi said. “But we have unfinished business with Syracuse next weekend, then we all head to Charlotte.”