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They’re Caught in a Trap by J.T.

Caught in a Trap by J.T.

The #16 Pitt Panthers coming off an emotional big win at home against Clemson welcomes in a Miami,Fla football team who for the most part has underperformed. Led by freshman quarterback Tyler Van Dyke the Hurricanes can put up points quickly, and could be that dreadful trap game people always talk about. So on a 53 degree day in Pittsburgh the (3-4) Hurricanes battle the (6-1) Panthers.

Pitt would not waste any time as they received the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards in 2:51 seconds to score the game’s first touchdown, as Israel Abanikanda punched it in from a yard out to put Pitt up 7-0. Because of penalties, Heisman Candidate Kenny Pickett threw for 84 yards on the opening drive. Miami would waste no time as 2nd year freshman Van Dyke would hit tight end Elijah Arroyo for a 20 yard strike to tie it at 7-7. Van Dyke set this up with a 57 yard pass to Brashard Smith.

The Panthers next drive fizzled out as Lucas Krull dropped a would-be first down, and on the next play he dropped another pass and took a big hit from Corey Flagg, Jr. that at first was ruled targeting, but was later overturned. The Hurricanes would once again strike fast as Van Dyke (who has a huge arm) would hit tight end Will Mallory off a reverse flea flicker for a 57 yard touchdown to put the Canes up 14-7. At this point Tyler Van Dyke is 5-5 for 156 yards and 2 touchdowns on this Pitt defense. Pitt’s offense would not get going on the next drive as a personal foul facemask on guard Marcus Minor and a sack by Gilbert Frierson would cause Pitt to punt. The Hurricanes, as they have done each time they had the ball, would strike fast, this time a 40 yard run by Jaylan Knight on a dive play up the middle to put Miami up 21-7. Pitt would get the offense moving as Kenny Pickett hit Jordan Addison for 33 yards to set up a 38 yard field goal by Sam Scarton to cut the lead to 21-10. The Panthers defense would finally figure out a way to hold Miami on a 3 and out. Pitt would end the first quarter driving the ball as Pickett would hit Addison again, this time for 39 yards. Miami,Fla would lead at the end of the first quarter 21-10, as Kenny Pickett would become Pitt’s all-time total yardage leader at 11,185 total yards, breaking Alex Van Pelt’s previous mark.

Pitt would open the 2nd quarter as they opened the game by scoring the quarters first touchdown as Pickett would hit Abanikanda on a screen pass, and Israel would do the rest and finish off the 20-yard scoring play to make it 21-17. The Hurricanes would hold the ball longer this time and behind back-to-back personal fouls on SirVocea Dennis and John Morgan would settle for a 26 yard field goal by Andy Borregales to extend their lead to 24-17. For the first time all game both teams exchanged punts and Jaylon Barden would return the Miami punt 39 yards to set Pitt up at the Canes 45. Miami’s defense would make a huge play as Tyrique Stevenson would pick off a Pickett pass and return it 39 yards. The Hurricanes would make it count as Knighton would punch it in from 1 yard out to give Miami a 31-17 lead. Pitt would drive but stalled out and settle for a 49 yard field goal try that would go far left by Scarton. The half ended with Miami up 31-17.

Halftime Stats

PIT-Kenny Pickett 22-33 307 yards 1-TD 1-INT

MIA-Tyler Van Dyke- 15-21 267 2-TD

MIA-Jaylan Knighton- 9 carries 64 yards 2-TD

PIT-Taysir Mack- 5 receptions 92 yards

PIT-Jordan Addison- 3 receptions 80 yards

The Panthers down 14 and starting on defense put a ton of pressure on this first drive by the Hurricanes. On a 3rd and 5 from their own 20 Habakkuk Baldonado would come up with a huge sack. Miami would punt and Barden would have his 2nd nice punt return of the game, this time 32 yards to set up Pitt at the Miami 27. Kenny Pickett, while scrambling, would hit Jared Wayne in the end zone on a beautiful pass to cut the Canes lead to 7 at 31-24. Pitt’s defense seemed to have some momentum finally, and held the Canes to a 3 and out and got the ball back into the hands of Kenny Pickett. Pickett, continuing his impressive season, would throw his 3rd touchdown of the day, this time a 19-yard strike to Barden to tie the game back up at 31-31. Kenny Pickett is now at 423 yards passing on the day, his 4th 400-yard passing game; no other Panthers quarterback has ever thrown more than 1. After holding Miami on two consecutive drives, Miami would march down the field 85 yards on 8 plays, finishing off with a 13 yard touchdown pass from Van Dyke to Brashard Smith to put the Canes back up 38-31. The Panthers would take the ball and drive right back down the field and on a 3rd and goal play the Panthers tried some trickery as Krull took a handoff and tried making a pass which went incomplete. Pitt would settle for a 23 yard field goal by Scarton to make it 38-34 with 13:55 left to play. Pitt and Miami would both punt on their next possessions. Miami’s next possession would show some movement in Panthers territory, only to be stopped by a John Petrishen interception on a broken play by Van Dyke, one of the few times he made a bad choice. Pickett would bring Pitt quickly down the field but when he tried striking over the middle for Addison he was picked off by James Williams. Starting at their own 2 Miami would try running the ball, and it appeared that Knighton did not make it out of the endzone, the refs marked the ball at the one, and it appeared the video was not good enough to overturn the call. On a huge 3rd and four with no timeouts left for Pitt, Will Mallory would make the catch and take a big hit by Brandon Hill and fumble backwards, originally the refs said it went past the marker and called it 4th down. After review though they would mark the ball at the 29 yard line and measure it, giving Miami the first down and the game. 38-34

A trap loss that you could see coming from a mile away, makes it that much harder to take. Seems like this program goes through these types of losses way too often. Kenny Pickett ended the day 39-55 for 519 yards with 3 touchdowns, but 2 big interceptions. Chances are this loss will affect Pitt’s playoff hopes, and Pickett’s Heisman run. The most disappointing part of the day was Pitt’s defense and how a 2nd year freshman quarterback carved us up, with no adjustments made.

Pitt plays next Saturday at Duke

Pitt’s Jordan Addison had another huge game with 8 receptions for 145 yards.

Pitt had 587 total yards, while Miami had 492 yards.

Kenny Pickett’s 519 yards were the most ever by a Pitt Panthers quarterback in a single game.

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