Pitt defense helps Panthers get overtime win against North Carolina

Photo by Edward Thompson / fi360 News

Pittsburgh, PA – No. 21 Pitt can breathe easy after an overtime win against North Carolina helped the Panthers keep their first place in the ACC Coastal Division. 

The 30-23 home victory in Heinz Field put them at an 8-2 overall record. With two games left in the regular season, the Panthers are still on their way to potentially getting the team’s first 10-win season since 2009.

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Redshirt senior quarterback Kenny Pickett completed 25 out of 43 passes, recorded 346 yards and three touchdowns. Pickett became Pitt’s career leader in passing yards on Thursday night. Meanwhile, sophomore wide receiver Jordan Addison became the first Panther to register a 1,000-yard receiving season since Tyler Boyd in 2014.

Pitt dominated the first half of the night, particularly in the first period when the Panthers outscored the Tar Heels 17-0. The home team entered halftime with a 23-7 advantage. 

Seemed like the Panthers had it under control, but North Carolina shut out Ptit 26-0 in the next two quarters.

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“It’s just the kind of game it is,” said Pickett when asked about the second half offensive struggles. “It is what it is. We want to perform better, we want to put a lot more points up on the board. But at the end of the day, our defense did a great job… Huge shout out to the defense.”

During the extra period, Pickett completed an 11-yard pass to redshirt senior tight end Lucas Krull for what would become the winning touchdown. When it was North Carolina’s turn, redshirt sophomore cornerback M.J. Devonshire had the interception that allowed the Panthers to end the night with a win. This also happened to be the first interception of his career. 

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“What a ball game, huh?” said Pat Narduzzi at the beginning of the press conference.

The head coach said he had a 30-minute meeting with his defense that day, which certainly seemed to help

“I said, ‘Listen everybody is talking about offense, but you win championships with defense.’ And that was a championship effort today by our defense,” Narduzzi said. 

Photo by Edward Thompson / fi360 News

Up next, Pitt hosts the Virginia Cavaliers on Saturday Nov. 21.