It was deja vu all over again for the Panthers.
With an early season foothold in the ACC up for grabs, the Panthers found themselves in control of the game late in the 4th quarter.
For nearly three quarters of the game the Pitt ground game was nearly unstoppable, racking up 281-yards against an overmatched North Carolina run defense.
But in the end, the Panthers found themselves unable capitalize on chances and put the game away.
That was all North Carolina needed to complete a stunning comeback that will undoubtedly haunt the Panthers the rest of the season.
On the final drive, UNC QB Mitch Trubisky converted three times on fourth down, before connecting with Bug Howard for a 2-yard touchdown with two seconds remaining in the game. The extra point put the Tar Heels ahead by one and Quadree Henderson’s valiant effort on the kick return was stopped at midfield and that was the ball game. North Carolina 37 – Pitt 36.
The Panthers roared out of the gates with a Ejuan Price forcing a safety early in the 1st quarter. A 50-yard field goal by Chris Blewitt and a 1-yard touchdown by James Conner paced Pitt to a 12-0 lead early in the 2nd. Then North Carolina got to their game, Trubisky found Mack Holins for a 39-yard TD, his first of five on the game.
Pitt answered back with a 3-yard TD run by George Aston, but again North Carolina found the end zone with a 19-yard TD catch by Ryan Switzer. The Tar Heels closed to within three with a 34-yard field goal by Nick Weller as time expired in the first half.
The Panthers and Tar Heels exchanged TD’s with Pitt redshirt freshman Chawntezz Moss scoring his first as a Panther to make it 26-16 before Trubisky answered with a 1-yard TD to Austin Proehl.
Pitt would tack on 10 more points after a 1-yard run by QB Nathan Peterman and a 40-yard FG by Chris Blewitt.
But even with a 13 point lead late in the 4th quarter, the Panthers weren’t able to put the game away.
Trubisky found Bug Howard on a 2-yard TD with 5:24 left in the game. After going three and out, the Panthers were forced to punt and North Carolina found themselves in prime position to make a late drive to win the game.
The Panthers defense, which surrendered 540 to Oklahoma State the week before had no answers for another dynamic passing attack and allowed 453 yards and five scores to the Tar Heels.
// Featured image: Photo courtesy of Pitt Athletics