The Miami Hurricanes bid for a perfect season has ended and maybe a slot in the four-team College Football Playoff.
Pittsburg Panthers freshman quarterback Kenny Pickett introduced himself to the nation as he ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as the Panthers pulled out a crucial 24-14 stunner that sent Miami hobbling into next week’s ACC title game showdown with defending national champion Clemson.
Hurricanes owned the nation’s longest winning streak at 15 games lasting 13 months.
It was both head coaches who made headlines in the game. One look confident the other confused.
The Hurricanes managed just 232 yards of total offense, a season-low. Malik Rosier completed 15 of 34 passes for 187 and two touchdowns and sent to the bench in the fourth quarter then reinstated. Rosier was bad however not pulled out of the game terrible.
Miami coach Mark Richt benched his 11-0 quarterback before the NFL Miami Dolphins benched Jay Cutler. Richt replaced Rosier with redshirt sophomore backup Evan Shirreffs who threw only five passes the entire season.
“I still think there’s an awful lot to play for,” Miami coach Mark Richt said. “We have no idea what’s going to happen in the big picture, how many teams lost a game on a Friday and came back and got in the top four? How many teams lost one game and won a conference championship and got right back in it? Who knows? So we don’t know.”
Panthers were 4-7 coming in the game and 2-5 in the ACC conference. Clemson who is next for “The U” has won five in a row since their loss to Syracuse.
At the half, Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi with his team up 10-7 over the number two team in the nation guaranteed a win.
“I talked about the past and the big upset win at West Virginia,” Narduzzi said. “It happened in Clemson last year. I told the players it’s about time it happened in Pittsburgh.”
35,978 witnessed it happen at Heinz Field.
Pickett sealed it with a 22-yard naked bootleg with 2:54 left gave the Panthers all the bolster they would need to beat a No. 2 team at home for the first time in program history.
No one saw this coming except for the Panthers.
Hurricanes starting tight end Christopher Herndon IV will undergo season-ending knee surgery this week, the team announced Sunday. Herndon injured the MCL in his left knee in the loss. The 6-foot-4, 252-pound senior, had 40 receptions for 477 yards and four touchdowns this season, which are all career highs and rank second on the team in all three categories.
Miami fell five spots to No. 7 in the AP poll and will make its first ACC championship game appearance.