CHARLOTTE, N.C. — During Pitt’s 45-21 ACC Championship victory on Saturday night, Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett showed off one of the most creative ways to score a touchdown.
Pickett, on third down in his own territory, dropped back and was immediately met by pressure in the pocket. To escape, he took off right up the middle, dashing about 20 yards ahead. Then, right when he was nearing the Wake Forest 40-yard line, he appeared to begin a sliding motion.
However, instead of going down, he quickly propped right back up into a full sprint after the subtle hesitation, took off, and went all the way to the endzone.
“If I tried that, I’d tear both of my ACLs,” Pitt color commentator and former quarterback Pat Bostick said of the impressive athletic feat.
But while it was impressive, was it intentional? Sort of.
“Yeah, it was intentional,” Pickett said about the play. “I started slowing down and pulling up getting ready to slide and I just kind of saw their body language, they pulled up, as well.”
THAT FAKE SLIDE 👀@KennyPickett10's career-long 58-yard TD run gives Pitt an early lead 🔥
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) December 5, 2021
They did indeed pull up, letting Pickett gain some separation, and that was all he needed.
“I didn’t really know,” he continued. “I’ve never done that before, so I just kind of kept going after I was initially starting to slide.”
But head coach Pat Narduzzi clarified that it’s not something the Panthers had practiced or were trying to do. it was just a reaction by Pickett to what he was seeing on the field.
“First of all, if it was intentional and if you really did that — you’ve never seen him do that,” Narduzzi said. “I think it was called instincts and a heck of a football play by Kenny Pickett. He started to slide, drug his foot, and then I think — the guys were still 10 yards away from him. The closest guy might have been four or five yards away, and I just think he thought about it and there was a little hesitation, he was going to go down and be smart and be safe, but he was like, Hold on a second; he drug that right foot I believe it was and then just took off.”
Pickett finished the game with 253 passing yards and two touchdowns, to go along with his 58 rushing yards. Also, Pickett’s sensational 58-yard scramble was the longest rush of the game, for either team.
“You can watch all the slides through the years,” Narduzzi continued. “Quarterbacks are getting whacked on those things. To me I’d coach our defensive guys to finish the play, and if he goes down a lot of times we slide over the top of him, and that’s being a football player. You’ve got to finish the play. There’s a thing called a whistle, and when the whistle blows you stop, but until then you’ve got to gather up. And if the quarterback slides too late, we’ve seen guys slide late and get scraped up and tattooed a little bit, and it’s part of the game.
“Again, we never practiced it. It wasn’t something where today we said we’re going to fake slide. It was a football play, and Kenny Pickett is the best, and that’s why he’s a champion.”