Pitt got Kenny Pickett back at quarterback on Saturday and Pickett helped get the Panthers back on track, directing Pitt’s offense to its second-highest scoring total of the season in a 41-17 trouncing of Florida State.
Pickett, who was not even a full participant at practice during the Panthers’ off week coming in to the matchup with the Seminoles, threw for 210 yards on 21 of 27 passing and ran for another 13 yards and a touchdown on his still-gimpy left ankle.
Pitt fell into a two-score hole early after Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis took a read-option keeper 88 yards for a score. Travis broke a tackle by redshirt freshman strong safety Brandon Hill, who was making his first career start in place of Paris Ford, who opted out of the remainder of the season on Monday.
An A.J. Woods interception set Pitt up with good field position and backup quarterback Nick Patti came in for a 1-yard quarterback keeper after Pickett found freshman Jordan Addison down near the goal line.
A short Florida State punt in the second quarter gave Pitt good field position once again. Pickett hit Addison for 12 yards and Vincent Davis rumbled for 28 to the 1-yard line before Patti once again pushed it home to give Pitt the lead for good.
Pickett scored for himself on a 10-yard scramble later in the second quarter after a Pitt fourth-down defensive stop.
Another interception in the third quarter once again set Pitt up with a short field, as Damar Hamlin intercepted Seminoles backup James Blackman. Vincent Davis hit pay dirt to cap that drive.
Hill got his revenge late in the game, as he intercepted Florida State third quarterback Chubba Purdy and returned 50 yards for a score to give Pitt its final margin of victory.
The Panthers improved to 4-4 on the season with the win, stopping a four-game slide. They’ll finish their two-game road swing with a trip to Georgia Tech on Saturday, Nov. 14.