PITTSBURGH — Kenny Pickett threw two long touchdown passes and the Pitt defense intercepted Clemson twice as the No. 23 Panthers knocked off Clemson, 27-17 at Heinz Field on Saturday.
Pickett threw two second-quarter touchdowns to erase an early Clemson lead. He completed a 23-yard score to Jordan Addison and then added a 39-yarder to Taysir Mack on a fourth down to give the Panthers the lead just before the half.
The defense then piled on, with linebacker SirVocea Dennis intercepting a D.J. Uiagalelei shovel pass and returning it for a 50-yard pick six, giving the Panthers a two-score lead they never relinquished.
That play caused the benching of Uiagalelei for Taisun Phommachanh, but neither Clemson passed could make an impact against the Panthers’ defense. Uiagalelei finished 12 of 25XXX for 128 yards and two interceptions. Phommachanh was 3 of 7 for 23 yards.
Both were outshined by the Pitt passer, who became the team’s second player with 10,000 career passing yards and set the program’s all-time lead in receptions in the game.
Pickett finished 25 of 39 for 302 yards and the two touchdowns. He also ran for a key first down on Pitt’s final offensive drive, which was aided by backs Rodney Hammond (11 carries, 66 yards) and Vincent Davis (12 carries, 30 yards).
The Pitt offense played most of the second half without Jordan Addison or Israel Abanikanda, but still managed 27 points against the Clemson defense, the most it allowed in regulation this season.