Pickett Powers Pitt Past Duke, 54-29
William Howard-USA TODAY Sports
By BOB SUTTON
DURHAM, North Carolina (AP) Kenny Pickett threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score as Pitt pulled away to beat Duke 54-29 on Saturday.
Pickett threw for 405 yards as the Panthers (7-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference, No.25 CFP) rebounded from a home loss to Miami a week earlier. They have their best nine-game record since going 8-1 in 2009.
Sam Scarton scored four field goals for Pitt, who leads the ACC Coastal Division and improved to 4-0 in road games. Jordan Addison, who scored on a reception and rush, racked up 171 receiving yards on seven catches.
Duke (3-6, 0-5) lost their fifth straight game. Quarterback Gunnar Holmberg came out with an upper-body injury during the team’s final possession in the first half after throwing for 174 yards and a touchdown. Running back Mataeo Durant gained 81 yards on 25 carries.
Pitt went ahead in earnest on Pickett’s 22-yard scrum with four minutes left in the first half after a series of potential swing-change plays. The Panthers were leading 30-19 at halftime, with Scarton scoring his third field goal in eight minutes on the last game of the half.
Duke drove to Pitt’s 1-yard line in opening possession before Durant’s fumble and a mad scramble for the ball. Pitt responded, scoring 76 yards in seven plays with Pickett hitting Jared Wayne on a 10-yard pass.
Duke scored on his second possession, Charlie Ham’s 46-yard field goal giving the Blue Devils their first points in the first half in three games.
Moments later, after a fumble by Pickett, Duke was denied on Durant’s fourth try from Pitt 1. The next game, Pitt running back Vincent Davis Jr. was tackled in the end zone for safety. .
After that, Duke’s main highlights were Holmberg’s 32-yard pass to Jalon Calhoun and Jaylen Stinson kick off return from 86 yards.
Pitt: at home Thursday night against North Carolina.
Duke: Visit Virginia Tech next Saturday.