Taysir Mack caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Nick Patti midway through the fourth quarter to help Pittsburgh hold off upstart Delaware 17-14 on Saturday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
The Panthers (3-2) avoided losing to an FCS school for the first time since 2012 but looked nothing like the team that upset a ranked UCF team a week earlier. That was partly due to the absence of three key offensive players, including junior quarterback Kenny Pickett, who sat out with a sore shoulder.
In his place was Patti, a redshirt freshman who threw three passes in Pitt’s first four games. The Panthers were also without their top two running backs, junior A.J. Davis and freshman Vincent Davis, who had accounted for 61 percent of their rushing yardage and all four TDs.
Pitt led 10-7 at halftime but senior receiver Maurice Ffrench lost a fumble at its o21-yard line on the second play of the third quarter, setting up Delaware (3-2) to go ahead 14-10 five plays later on a 5-yard TD pass from Nolan Henderson to freshman Jourdan Townsend.
Both Blue Hens’ TDs came off Pitt turnovers, the other score a 7-yard pass from Henderson to Gene Coleman II midway through the second quarter after Patti was intercepted near midfield. Henderson was 14 of 31 for 127 yards with two TDs in his second career start.
Patti threw for 271 yards on 23-for-37 passing with two TDs and an interception. Mack, a junior, had five catches for 124 yards, including a 48-yarder on the go-ahead scoring drive.
Pitt, which entered last in the ACC in rushing at 114.5 yards per game, ran for 172 yards, with sophomore Todd Sibley Jr. gaining 106 yards on 22 carries. The Panthers’ defense also stepped up big, registering six sacks and holding Delaware to 170 yards of total offense.
Delaware fell to 15-17 all-time against FBS schools, its last win in 2007 against Navy.
—Field Level Media