Kenny Pickett threw 26 yards to V’Lique Carter for a touchdown with 38 seconds remaining as Pittsburgh recovered after blowing a 23-point lead, winning 33-30 in Atlantic Coast Conference football Saturday night at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, N.C.
Duke had driven 86 yards for a go-ahead score with 1:30 to play. The Blue Devils picked up two third-down conversions, including one courtesy of a penalty, before Quentin Harris threw 44 yards to Deon Jackson for a touchdown.
The Panthers had time for the winning drive, then forced another turnover to clinch the outcome.
The outcome included an inadvertent signal from a game official on Duke’s would-be tying two-point conversion earlier in the fourth quarter. There was re-do of the play, and the attempt failed with 9:10 to play.
Pickett, who missed the team’s victory a week earlier against Delaware because of an undisclosed injury concern, was back in a starter’s role. He completed 29 of 48 passes for 268 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Harris was 18-for-44 for 165 yards with two interceptions. He also fumbled three times.
The Panthers (4-2, 1-1 ACC) have won five straight meetings with Duke (3-2, 1-1).
Two plays after Harris’ third-quarter fumble gave the Panthers the ball at the Duke 7, Pickett connected on a 4-yard pass to tight end Nakia Griffin-Stewart.
Harris, though, scored on a 4-yard run on the first play after a Pittsburgh muffed punt late in the third quarter. Then a Pittsburgh fumble resulted in Jackson’s 2-yard run and Jalon Calhoun’s two-point conversion run, so the Blue Devils were within 26-18 with 13:09 left.
After Pickett threw another interception, Harris ran 3 yards for a touchdown. Duke appeared to tie the game with a two-point conversion run, but that was before the re-do failed.
Early in the game, the Blue Devils committed turnovers on back-to-back first-quarter snaps. The second one was particularly costly when Paris Ford returned a deflected pass 26 yards for a touchdown. It was the Panthers’ first pick-six since 2016.
Two snaps later, Ford picked off Harris again. This time, the Panthers settled for Alex Kessman’s 43-yard field goal.
Ford’s two interceptions marked the first multi-interception game for a Pittsburgh player since 2013.
—Field Level Media