Panthers not getting ahead of themselves after Clemson upset
Nov 28 2016 by Marjorie Miles
Rather than wait until the home finale, and all the accompanying distractions, Dabo Swinney designated Saturday's game with Pitt as Senior Day, a time for the fan base to thank quarterback Deshaun Watson and those who won't be returning for the memories of another march to the College Football Playoffs.
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But, Saturday, Blewitt didn't blow it when it mattered most, nailing a booming 48-yard field goal with six seconds left to give the Panthers (6-4, 3-3 ACC) the shocking 43-42 win over the No. 2 Clemson Tigers (9-1, 6-1) - perhaps the season's biggest upset. Pitt (6-4, 3-3) made the Tigers uncomfortable. Watson completed 52 of 70 passes - both school records - for three touchdowns, but had three passes intercepted.
While the Panthers were mostly incapable of keeping Clemson from scoring, Lewis' interception provided a huge boost to Pitt's chances early in the game. The powerful Conner had 132 yards on the ground - his second-highest total of the season - and two total touchdowns.
With the last name of "Blewitt", you'd be forgiven for not having much faith in Pitt Panthers kicker Chris Blewitt, especially because he missed a crucial extra point in Saturday's game.
Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi is hoping to stop the fun times this week.
Stat of the game: 580: A lot of great quarterbacks have played in the ACC over the years, but Watson holds the ACC record for passing yards in a game.
Nathan Peterman had a career-best five TD passes and 308 yards. Stewart gained 156 yards on eight catches, including a 67-yard sprint on a jet sweep.
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Blewitt, who had a kick blocked at the end of the opening half, was steely eyed and ready. Pitt took advantage of Watson's critical error on a Senior Day in which a coronation seemed probable.
"As soon as I saw the kick go up, I knew it was going in", Scott Orndoff said. However, Clemson is going to be able to move the ball on this sieve of a defense.
GEORGIA TECH 30, No. 18 VIRGINIA TECH 20 (at Blacksburg, Va.) - Backup quarterback Matthew Jordan rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Yellow Jackets (6-4, 3-4 ACC) past the Hokies (7-3, 5-2). North Carolina State's missed field goal at the end of regulation boosted Clemson to a 24-17 overtime win. And the first home loss since 2013 has left the Tigers questioning how quickly they'll rebound for a second consecutive national title run.
He said he's not in pain and will play. It's all about Wake Forest now and finding a way to win up there. "Hopefully, we can clinch the ACC (Atlantic) and punch our ticket" for the championship game next week.
The Panthers' stunning upset shows that Pat Narduzzi's program has officially turned the corner.
The Tigers were hurt by two controversial second-half penalties (one holding call, one personal foul call) that helped keep Pittsburgh within striking distance, but the finale nonetheless marked a stark contrast for a Clemson team that has thrived in crunch time this season. Despite being in every game this season but one, Pittsburgh went into Death Valley as a 20-point underdog.
Expect a rankings fall for Clemson, certainly from the top five. The college football odds for the game have the Tigers favored to pick up the win by a comfortable margin.
The three-goal lead at halftime marked the most goals Wake Forest scored in a half since scoring three first-half goals against Louisville on October 30, 2015, in a 4-2 win that claimed the ACC Atlantic title.