MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) – Travis Homer rushed for 168 yards and a long touchdown, DeeJay Dallas ran back a punt for one of his two scores and Miami closed its regular season by knocking off No. 24 Pittsburgh 24-3 on Saturday.
Dallas also had a rushing touchdown for the Hurricanes (7-5, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference).
Homer is up to 969 yards this season, and would have a chance to become the 10th runner in Miami history with a 1,000-yard season if he gets 31 in the bowl game. His career rushing total is now 1,979 yards, which moved him four yards past Frank Gore for 12th on the Hurricanes’ list.
Kenny Pickett completed 14 of 22 passes for 130 yards for Pitt (7-5, 6-2), which had already locked up the ACC’s Coastal Division and a berth in next weekend’s conference title game against Clemson. It was a reversal of last season, when Miami had the Coastal clinched and lost to Pitt in the regular-season finale for both clubs.
Pitt was held to 200 yards.
Homer’s 64-yard touchdown in the third quarter put Miami up 17-3, and matched the longest scoring run of his Miami career. It also continued his knack for breaking big plays for scores; he has 12 rushing TDs for the Hurricanes, the average length of them being 27 yards.
Dallas scored on a 65-yard punt return in the second quarter, giving Miami one of those for the second straight week. The one last week came from Jeff Thomas, who left the Hurricanes on Wednesday – team officials said he was dismissed, while Thomas claimed that his departure was by mutual decision.
Either way, it didn’t derail Miami on its Senior Day, even with the passing game struggling again. N’Kosi Perry completed only six of 24 passes for 52 yards, though was hurt by no fewer than seven dropped passes. It was the lowest passing total Miami posted in an ACC game, four yards shy of the 56 the Hurricanes managed against Georgia Tech in 2007.
Alex Kessman’s 40-yard field goal for Pitt late in the third quarter allowed the Panthers to avoid the shutout. This was the first ACC season since 2009 that there were no shutouts in conference games.
Pittsburgh: The Panthers punted 12 times, more than they have in any game in the last 20 seasons. Kirk Christodoulou averaged 43.3 yards per kick and connected on a 73-yarder to highlight his day, that one coming immediately after Dallas had his return for a score.
Miami: The Hurricanes still have not had a one-game streak of anything under coach Mark Richt. In his three seasons, Miami’s results have gone like this – four wins, then four losses, then 15 wins, then four losses, then five wins, then four losses and, now, two wins. The bowl will give Richt a chance at winning at least eight games for the 17th time in his 18 seasons as a head coach.
The Panthers will almost certainly fall out of the AP Top 25 after one week. The last time Pitt lasted more than two consecutive weeks in the poll was 2009. This current appearance was only the fifth for Pitt in the last 142 editions of the AP Top 25.
The Coastal this year featured Pitt losing to North Carolina, North Carolina going 0-7 in all other ACC games, Miami rolling past Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech beating Virginia and Virginia beating Miami. In other words, the Coastal made minimal sense.
Pittsburgh: Faces Clemson in ACC title game at Charlotte, North Carolina on Dec. 1.
Miami: Awaits bowl-destination announcement on Dec. 2.
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