Pitt’s passing game spent most of Saturday’s game against Duke on the sidelines, as Pitt’s rushing attack, led by Qadree Ollison and true freshman V’Lique Carter, powered the Panthers to 484 rushing yards.
But with the game on the line, Kenny Pickett came through, throwing for 78 yards on the final drive, including a game-winning 25-yard strike to Maurice Ffrench with five seconds left on the clock to give Pitt a 54-45 win.
Ffrench also had a 50-yard strike as he and Carter were Pitt’s big-play options in a game filled with offense.
Making his Pitt debut, Carter rushed for 137 yards on seven carries and two touchdowns. Ollison added 149 yards and a score on 18 carries. The 484 rushing yards were the second-most in program history.
Pitt’s defense was gashed throughout, particularly through the air, where Duke quarterback Daniel Jones had 396 yards and four touchdowns. But they came up with a big stop late, when Amir Watts sacked Jones to force a punt and get Pitt the ball back.
Pickett had a 30-yard rushing touchdown on Pitt’s first drive. Alex Kessman knocked through a pair of long field goals from 54 and 48 and the Panthers added a safety on the final play of the game as Duke lateraled the kickoff out of bounds.