PITTSBURGH — Pitt did it again.
For the third time in four seasons, the unranked Panthers knocked off a top-15 opponent, defeating No. 15 UCF, 35-34 at Heinz Field on Saturday.
Trailing by a touchdown late, and facing a 4th and 2 from the UCF 3-yard line Pitt offensive coordinator Mark Whipple dipped into his bag of tricks with the game on the line.
Pitt center Jimmy Morrissey snapped the ball directly to running back back A.J. Davis. Davis took two steps to his left and tossed it to wide receiver Aaron Mathews.
Mathews, a former high school quarterback at Clairton, rolled to his right and found quarterback Kenny Pickett two yards into the end zone to cap an improbable victory for the Panthers.
Pitt started the game on fire, scoring 21 unanswered points to take a big early lead. Mathews blocked a punt that was returned 18 yards by Wendell Davis to put Pitt up three touchdowns.
But the Knights roared back with their infamous passing game. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel threw for two touchdowns, running back Adrian Killins had another and O.J. Anderson returned a punt for a score as the Knights scored 31 consecutive points to take the lead.
Backup quarterback Nick Patti got Pitt back up off the floor with a six-yard touchdown pass to Dontavius Butler-Jenkins in the third quarter. UCF added a field goal with 4:36 to play to go up six.
But Pickett lead Pitt on 12-play, 79-yard drive to score with under a minute remaining.
Pitt’s defense sacked Gabriel twice on UCF’s final possession to secure the victory.
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