“Pitt Special” TD leads Pitt to stun No. 15 UCF, 35-34

McKenzie Milton pass complete to Michael Colubiale for 11 yards to the UCF 36 for a 1st down in the opening play

Author elisfkc from Orlando, FL, United States

McKenzie Milton pass complete to Michael Colubiale for 11 yards to the UCF 36 for a 1st down in the opening play

Dylan Shields, Sports Writer

Pitt scored late in the fourth quarter on a fourth-and-three to hand UCF its first regular-season loss since 2016.

In the first half, Pitt controlled the time of possession on offense, outgaining UCF by almost 200 yards in the half, leading 21-10 at halftime.

The third quarter was a different story.  UCF scored a 10-yard TD on a quick five-play drive.  Then, after a three and out by Pitt, UCF Wide Reciever Otis Anderson broke five tackles to score an 87-yard punt return, giving UCF a 24-21 lead.  Kenny Pickett, Pitt’s QB, would struggle the next drive, and UCF would take advantage and score a 27-yard pass TD to Gabriel Davis.  After that TD, ESPN gave UCF a 90 percent chance to win.  However, Pitt did not give up.

Down by 10, Pickett led Pitt to a big TD drive culminating with a six-yard pass to Dontavius Butler-Jenkins, cutting it to 31-28.

After several fourth-down conversions, Pitt luckily only held UCF to a field goal, thanks to a couple of holding penalties on UCF’s offensive linemen.

Down to their last drive, Pickett slowly led Pitt to UCF’s other side of the field.  On a big fourth-and five, UCF jumped offsides which would give Pitt a free first down.  Eventually, Pitt would have to convert another fourth down.  With 59 seconds left, on UCF’s 5-yard line, Pitt would pull the famous “Philly Special” play with the snap going to RB A.J. Davis, then tossing it to Aaron Matthews, and finally throwing it to Pickett around two UCF defenders for the TD.

As the student section was rowdy, UCF couldn’t get anything after that, as QB D. Gabriel was sacked three times leading Pitt to their biggest win since beating No. 2 Miami in 2017.

Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi was proud of how his team came back from being down 10 to win and how his QB Pickett performed under pressure.

Pitt has an easier task next week, as they play Delaware out of the CAA conference.  With a couple of wins, Pitt could see themselves in the top 25 in the next couple of weeks.

UCF, however, is most likely out of the college football race with their 27 straight regular-season winning streak now over.  With some fans saying they deserved it before Saturday’s loss because they haven’t lost, many saw them as a dark horse candidate.  But with a loss to an unranked team, it’s very unlikely.  They will try to rebound next week with an easy opponent in UConn.

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