PITTSBURGH — In the first half in Saturday, Pitt had the better of the play against the No. 20 North Carolina State Wolfpack.
In the second half, NC State showed why it’s earned the national attention, pushing aside the Panthers from a halftime tie to a 35-17 final at Heinz Field.
In what has become a weekly tradition, Pitt again played two quarterbacks, with true freshman Kenny Pickett replacing Ben DiNucci with the Panthers down by touchdown in the second half.
Neither quarterback was particularly efficient. DiNucci threw for a touchdown on a well-placed 33-yard strike to Jester Weah. He also threw one interception.
Pickett threw a ball that easily could have gone six points the other way, but bounced off a defender’s hands and into Weah’s.
DiNucci finished 19 of 32 for 170 yards. Pickett was 5 of 13 for 61 yards and also ran for 18 yards in four carries.
Weah was one of the lone bright spots for the offense, grabbing seven balls for 106 yards and the score, but he also had a critical early drop.
Defensively, Pitt kept the Wolfpack from getting into much an offensive rhythm in the first half. The two scores came on quick-strike plays by Nyheim Hines, one on an 83-yard run up the middle and the other on a 92-yard punt return.
In the second half, a pair of long touchdown drives, one capped by a 3-yard pass from Ryan Finley to Jakobi Meyers and the other on a 1-yard carry by Jaylen Samuels.
Samuels also added a 40-yard score to salt the game away late.