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Kenny Pickett Keeps Coming up Clutch for Pitt

Kenny Pickett Keeps Coming up Clutch for Pitt

DETROIT — When Pitt faced Eastern Michigan in the 2019 Quick Lane Bowl, most weren’t thinking the Panthers would need a last-minute touchdown to come away with a victory.

Two-score favorites, the Panthers were expected to have a relatively easy win over the then-6-6 Eagles, which finished tied for last place in the MAC West.

That wasn’t to be, with Pitt stumbling into a 10-0 early hole that it took nearly the entire game to pull out of.

But when it became clear that Pitt was going to need a last-minute touchdown drive to come from behind and keep Eastern Michigan from an upset win, the Pitt faithful should have had plenty of faith in quarterback Kenny Pickett’s ability to lead them to paydirt.

After all, he’s done it more than any other Pitt quarterback in most of their lifetimes.

When Pickett connected with Taysir Mack in the end zone with 47 seconds left on the clock at Ford Field, it was the sixth game-winning scoring drive with under two minutes to play that he directed in his Pitt career and the fourth in the 2019 season.

via GIPHY

Dating back to 1969, those are both Pitt highs. His fourth such scoring drive of the season broke a tie with Tyler Palko, who also had three in 2004. He had eclipsed Nate Peterman’s record four career final-two-minute scoring drives earlier in the season.

All seven of Palko’s and Peterman’s late-game winners came on field goals. Pitt needed four points to top the Eagles. Good thing all six of Pickett’s have come via touchdown, with No. 8 in blue and gold either running, throwing or receiving the winning score five of six times. That mark is also a Pitt best. Pete Gonzalez had two in 1997 and Dave Havern had two in 1970. No other player has had more than one.

“We had complete confidence in him,” senior safety Damar Hamlin said. “We’ve seen him do it all year. So once I knew the situation, we were going to go score. All I know I had to do was keep everybody composed on the sideline and get ready to get our adjustments for that last series.”

Pickett gave credit to the two-minute scheme installed by first-year offensive coordinator Mark Whipple for the success they had late in games in the 2019 season.

“We practiced that two-minute drill so many times from last year since we struggled in that area,” Pickett said. “Whip brings another element in. [Pat Narduzzi] did a great job with a great hire with coach ‘Whip’ coming in. I think the offense had a different mindset going in to this year. We’re sharper in those kinds of situations.”

Narduzzi attributed it to his team’s toughness and togetherness, along with the abilities of his quarterback.

“We just did it one more time,” he said “We talked about just doing it one more time. We didn’t care what the score was, we didn’t care about how it happened. But like our kids have done all year, they fight, they claw. They’ve got hearts.”

Whatever the reason, Pitt seems to have a clear blueprint for success that Pickett and company have been able to follow to historic levels over the last two seasons. And he still has one season to go.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Section 122
Section 122
9 months ago

Too bad he is terrible in every other drive except the last drive.

Pittband
Pittband
9 months ago
Reply to  Section 122

You are aware that PITT lead the nation in dropped passes? The only touch the tight ends got in the second half of the EMU game was Carrigan’s fumble recovery. That was an adjustment. I credit the tight ends with three losses. Team still doesn’t have an I in it. Hail to Pitt.

Expect the All Carolina Conference to pander to UNC next year like they did to UVA this year.

Richard Johnson
Richard Johnson
9 months ago
Reply to  Pittband

If you win games convincingly and not get blown out, then you leave no doubt you belong. I read some time back that Pitt does not travel well with their fans, that is why they get snubbed. Just saying what I read, I hope this is not true, thats a bogus excuse.

Richard Johnson
Richard Johnson
9 months ago
Reply to  Section 122

lol

Clark Martineau
Clark Martineau
9 months ago

Incredible catch by Mack and he’s back next year!

teddyballgame
teddyballgame
9 months ago

He dropped way to many passes this year to be even thought of as good receiver.

Smljf
Smljf
9 months ago

Im not a Pickett fan as a thrower. He’s avg at best as a pure passer. I admire his toughness. I cant argue against him being clutch in the come from behind victories. With that said, in those same victories, he’s had significant contributions to the negative as to why Pitt was trailing. Against EMU, careless ball handling and a fumble setup EMU with great field position and they went up 10-0.

Richard Johnson
Richard Johnson
9 months ago
Reply to  Smljf

Here Here

Richard Johnson
Richard Johnson
9 months ago

I was at the BC game, there were drops, overthrows, poor play calling and a interception in the red zone. I would not call him clutch. Mediocre maybe.

Justin Dietrich
Justin Dietrich
9 months ago

10 TD passes the rest of the year on a team that passes 40 times a game. Including the 3 vs EMU, that was still tied for 83rd in the nation. That’s unfathomable. You’d think he’d luck into a few more here or there, but he simply seems to be allergic to the end zone. He has a strong arm, is a tough competitor, but his accuracy is inconsistent, he makes bad reads and hardly ever LEADS his receivers. The Ffrench TD was an under thrown ball and he had to adjust to. Luckily we played EMU and the D… Read more »

FAT CITY
FAT CITY
9 months ago

Look at the super block by V. Davis that gave Kenny the time to throw

Haysroad
Haysroad
9 months ago

Alan 10TDs 9 Ints (not counting his fumbles) – Clutch? Alan it was a clutch brilliant one hand catch by Mack. KP is an over-promoted QB and since he does his share of it he earns criticism I don”t normally direct to a player. The last guy who bragged and produced nothing was Tino *similar styles and strengths) and he faced no competition for four years. Competition improves all players unless you are the teacher’s pet – pulling for DiNucci who was run out of town on a rail. This was a lousy MAC team. Dropped ball are a huge… Read more »

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