Deshaun Watson threw for an ACC 580 yards and three touchdowns but three interceptions — two in the red zone — kept Pitt in the game and allowed the visiting Panthers to upset No. 2 Clemson in the final seconds 43-42 on Saturday.
Pitt got a fourth down stop late in the final quarter and promptly marched right down the field in the final minute. Kicker Chris Blewitt missed an extra point in the first half but drilled the 48-yarder with six seconds left to capture the biggest victory in Pat Narduzzi’s short tenure in the Steel City.
Pitt’s passing game was clicking in a surprisingly sloppy defensive effort from the home team. Nathan Peterman didn’t quite put up the aerial show that Watson did but did finish with five touchdowns on just 22 completions. James Conner once again provided a quality effort on the ground, rushing for 132 tough yards and a touchdown.
The Tigers ground was bottled up day with tailback Wayne Gallman rushing for just 36 yards (he did have three touchdowns). That was one reason why Watson needed to attempt 70 passes against a defense that was susceptible through the air.
The loss doesn’t completely knock Clemson out of the College Football Playoff race but it will likely drop them down in the rankings come Tuesday night. The team can still clinch a spot in the ACC title game and the Atlantic Division crown next week at Wake Forest but the door is open for Louisville if they were to lose.
Pitt, meanwhile, becomes bowl eligible with the win and will head home celebrating from one of the bigger upsets this season.