EditorsNote: update2: correct time of winning score to 59 seconds
Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett caught the winning touchdown pass on a trick play with 56 seconds remaining as the Panthers stunned visiting No. 15 UCF 35-34 on Saturday afternoon.
Trailing 34-28 on fourth-and-2 at the UCF 3, Pitt snapped the ball to running back A.J. Davis, who handed the ball on an end around to wide receiver Aaron Mathews.
Mathews then tossed a short, game-tying score to Pickett, who had gone in motion and ran into the end zone. Alex Kessman’s point-after capped the 12-play, 79-yard drive.
Pitt’s defense forced two sacks on the ensuing series, and the clock ran out on UCF (3-1), which had won 10 straight road games and 27 consecutive regular-season games.
Pickett completed 25 of 47 passes for 224 yards and a touchdown.
UCF true freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel was 25 of 42 for 338 yards and two TDs. Gabriel Davis caught 10 passes for 151 yards and two scores, and Tre Nixon had seven catches for 136 yards.
Pickett engineered a nine-play, 75-yard drive, working down to the UCF 2 on Pitt’s first series. Davis then punched in a short run for a 7-0 lead at 9:36.
The junior quarterback ended a 72-yard drive early in the second quarter by zipping a pass to Maurice Ffrench in the right flat, and the receiver slipped into the end zone for a 2-yard score.
Pitt (2-2) punctuated its strong first half with a score on special teams as Mathews blocked a punt, and Wendell Davis returned the ball 18 yards to make it 21-0 with 8:58 remaining in the first half.
UCF scored the final 10 points of the first half on an 11-yard run by Adrian Killins Jr. and a 43-yard field goal by Dylan Barnas.
Gabriel opened the second half with a 10-yard TD pass to Davis with just under four minutes played to trim Pitt’s lead to 21-17.
Otis Anderson fielded a punt at the UCF 13, raced across the field, broke two tackles and dashed 87 yards to give the Knights a 24-21 lead at 8:40 of the third quarter.
Gabriel threw his second TD to Davis, a 28-yarder, as UCF extended its unanswered points run to 31 and a 31-21 lead.
With Pickett out with an injury, backup QB Nick Patti scrambled and tossed a short TD pass to Dontavius Butler-Jenkins to end UCF’s run with 4:11 left.
Barnas pushed UCF’s lead to 34-28 with a 28-yard field goal with 4:36 remaining.
—Field Level Media