Van Dyke beats Pickett, Miami beats No.17 Pitt 38-34
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Miami rookie Tyler Van Dyke beat Heisman Trophy contender Kenny Pickett with throws of 428 yards and three touchdowns as the Hurricanes beat No.17 Pickett and Pittsburgh 38-34 on Saturday.
Van Dyke completed 31 of 41 assists for all three scores and one interception as Miami (4-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) beat a ranked opponent for a second straight week.
Pickett bolstered his Heisman CV by throwing for a school record 519 yards and four touchdowns, but he also pitched his second and third interceptions of the season, both of which resulted in huge swing changes.
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The first – by Tyrique Stevenson of Miami in the second quarter – led to a Jaylan Knighton 1-yard touchdown that gave the Hurricanes a 31-17 lead at halftime. The runner-up – by freshman safety James Williams – came with 4:07 to go and Pitt drove for a go-ahead touchdown. Pickett threw behind star receiver Jordan Addison and Williams took a dip in the Miami 4.
An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Hurricanes pushed the ball back to the Miami 2. Pitt nearly stuffed Knighton for a safety, but officials ruled Knighton had advanced out of the end zone. The appeal was upheld after consideration and the Hurricanes have run out of time.
Pitt (6-2, 3-1).
Van Dyke, who comes off an outstanding performance in an upset victory over North Carolina State last week, wasted no time to pick up where he left off. The rookie redshirt led three touchdowns in the first 10 minutes of the game, including a 20-yard strike to Elijah Arroyo and a 57-yard throw to a wide-open Will Mallory on an inverted flea flicker.
The Panthers, desperately trying to shed the “same old Pitt coat” that the program carried around for nearly four decades, responded behind their senior quarterback who mounted a campaign for the Heisman Trophy that went from unlikely to legitimate within a month.
Facing an inexperienced and injury-plagued Miami high school, Pickett regularly rallied the Panthers while rewriting the school’s record book in the process.
In the second quarter, he passed Alex Van Pelt for the most total offensive yards in program history. Pickett’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Jared Wayne in the third put him past Hall of Fame Dan Marino for most touchdowns with 83.
Pickett pushed the total to 84 and tied the score with a 19-yard pass to Jaylon Bardon midway through the third quarter.
The Hurricanes responded with 85 yards in eight games, with Knighton’s second touchdown giving Miami the space they needed to beat the Panthers for a fourth straight.
Take it away
Miami: Van Dyke continues to improve week after week. With the exception of a fourth quarter interception that doubled as an “arm kick,” Van Dyke was quite equal to Pickett. The Hurricanes will need him to continue to enlighten him as a young defense searches for an identity.
Pitt: If Pickett ends the season with numbers that are worth considering by Heisman, it could be due to a defense that remains erratic. A week after handling Clemson, the Panthers surrendered 492 yards and looked a lot like the unit that allowed 517 yards in a home loss to Western Michigan in September.
The Panthers won’t improve on the program’s highest season standings since 2009 and may need a little help staying in the polls.
Miami: Georgia Tech visit next Saturday.
Pitt: Travel to Duke next Saturday.
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