PITTSBURGH (AP) – Jarren Williams hit K.J. Osborn for a 32-yard touchdown pass with 58 seconds remaining to rally Miami to a 16-12 victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Williams, who entered midway through the fourth quarter for starter N’Kosi Perry, drove the Hurricanes 62 yards in nine plays, the last a short toss to Osborn that Osborn turned into his fifth touchdown of the season. Pitt’s last-gasp drive ended with a pair of dropped passes, a sack and a wayward throw by Kenny Pickett on fourth down.
Miami (4-4, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) sputtered for most of the afternoon, relying heavily on three early Pitt turnovers that allowed the Hurricanes to take a 10-6 halftime lead. Miami trailed 12-10 late in the fourth quarter when Williams entered for Perry. Williams’ first drive ended with a punt. His second may have changed the trajectory of his team’s season.
The Hurricanes took over with 4:01 to play and needed a fourth-down conversion to keep the drive alive. Williams, however, appeared to gain confidence with each snap. His strike to Osborn helped Miami get back to .500. Williams completed 4 of 8 passes for 50 yards and the touchdown as Miami won on a day it managed just 208 yards of total offense. Perry, named the starter on Friday after playing through a separated left shoulder in a loss to Georgia Tech last week, completed 10 of 24 passes for 104 yards and an interception before giving way to Williams.
Cam’Ron Harris ran for 60 yards for Miami, including a 1-yard dive in the second quarter following Pitt’s third turnover in the opening 16 minutes.
Alex Kessman kicked four field goals for the Panthers (5-3, 2-2), including a 24-yarder with 7:19 to play that put Pitt in front. Kessman attempted the kick after Pitt opted not to go for it on fourth-and-goal at the Miami 1. The decision pushed the Panthers in front but also opened the door just enough for Miami on a day the Hurricanes could do little for long stretches against a dominant Panther defense.
Pitt’s defense did force a punt after Kessman’s go-ahead field goal. The offense however, couldn’t muster a single first down to help drain the clock and the Hurricanes finally got it going behind Williams to likely end any legitimate shot the Panthers had of winning a second straight Coastal Division crown.
Pickett completed 18 of 32 passes for 146 yards and two interceptions in the rain, though a handful of drops didn’t help. Todd Sibley ran for 54 yards before leaving with a leg injury late and V’Lique Carter added 47 yards on the ground. Yet the Panthers couldn’t find the end zone despite three drives into the red zone.
Miami: The Hurricanes still have plenty of questions on offense but at least they have some momentum after coming out on the wrong end of a series of narrow losses in recent weeks.
Pitt: The Panthers have thrived in tight games this year – they came in having won four straight by a combined 10 points – but couldn’t get the one stop they needed.
Miami: Visits longtime rival Florida State next Saturday. The Hurricanes have won two straight in the series, including a 24-20 victory in Tallahassee in 2017.
Pitt: Travels to Georgia Tech next Saturday. The teams have split their six meetings since the Panthers joined the ACC in 2013.
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