The Panthers came up just short against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, falling 45 to 38 in a game that saw the Cowboys rack up 642 yards against the Pitt defense.
It took an actual bolt of lightning, which caused a nearly two hour delay just minutes into the fourth quarter, to slow down these two teams. The Panthers and Cowboys combined for over 1,100 yards of total offense and 83 points in a game that wasn’t decided until the final moments.
Coming off a thrilling 42-39 win over their arch rivals and on the cusp of breaking into the top 25, the Panthers found themselves unable to keep up with Oklahoma States fast paced offensive attack.
OK State roared out of the gate with a 91 yard TD pass from QB Mason Rudolph to James Washington on the first play of the game.
The Panthers played catch up most of the game, coming back from 7-0, 24-10, 31-17, and 38-31 deficits, finally knotting it at 38 after a 50-yard TD rush by Quadree Henderson.
But it wasn’t enough as Oklahoma scored a late touchdown on a 1-yard run by Rennie Childs, his fourth of the game, with only 1:38 left to play. The TD was set up by an 80 yard catch and run by Jhajuan Seales after Avonte Maddox fell down.
Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph consistently torched the Panthers’ secondary, racking up over 370 yards in the first half alone. Rudolph finished with 540 through the air and two touchdowns. OK State WR James Washington lead all receivers with nine catches for 296 yards and two TDs, Jhajuan Seales added seven receptions for 129.
The Panthers defense was able to make a few adjustments after halftime, containing OK State throughout the third and fourth quarters, constantly harassing Rudolph into forcing him to throw off his back foot. They even got into the scoring after Matt Galambos pounced on a Rudolph fumble in the end zone.
The Panthers struggled again through the air, but Matt Canada’s assortment of jet sweeps, misdirections and counters kept the OK State defense off balance throughout the game. James Conner led Pitt with 111 yards on the ground and tacked on 60 yards on two receptions. Quadree Henderson continued to deliver big plays, gaining 87 yards on the ground, along with two touchdowns, one of which came on a 50 yard scamper which tied the game at 38.
Pitt QB Nathan Peterman finished the game 14/29 for 237 yards and a TD, but couldn’t lead the Panthers down the field in the final moments and was picked off to end the game.
It’s a disappointing loss for a team looking to break into the top 25.
Next week the Panthers travel to Chapel Hill for their first ACC Coastal matchup. The’ll play the 2-1 Tar Heels, who rolled over James Madison earlier today 56-28.