Game Recap (Football): Pitt vs NC State
By: Michael Nitti
In what was Pitt’s third ACC matchup of the season, 20th ranked NC State came to Heinz Field in hopes to stay undefeated in conference play. After a close game against Syracuse last week in what was ultimately a loss, the Panthers were looking for their first ACC win.
With 5:05 left in the first quarter, sophomore quarterback Ben Dinucci connected with redshirt senior wide receiver Jester Weah on a 33-yard touchdown to put the Panthers on top 7-0. Weah collected 107 yards to go along with that touchdown over the course of the game. However, the Wolfpack answered quickly, as junior running back Nyheim Hines broke through the defense for an 83-yard touchdown run on the second play of the drive to tie the game up at 7. On the following drive, the Pitt offense stalled out, forcing a punt which was returned 92 yards for a touchdown by Hines, putting NC State ahead 14-7. Hines would end up with 249 all-purpose yards for the game.
After a few punts from both teams, junior running back Darrin Hall found the end zone on a 1-yard run which capped off a 10 play, 69-yard drive for the Panthers with 2:38 remaining in the half. NC State was able to get to the Pitt 16-yard line to set up a 34-yard field goal try with nine seconds left, but failed to put it through, keeping the game tied 14-14 at the half.
To begin the second half, Dinucci was intercepted by senior cornerback Mike Stevens, but the Wolfpack couldn’t capitalize, as they went 3 and out, forced to punt it away. For much of the third quarter, neither offense could get it going, until NC State scored with 2:32 left in the quarter to make it 21-14, largely due to a big 43-yard catch by sophomore wide receiver Kelvin Harmon, who managed 113 yards on 3 receptions in the contest.
Following that drive, freshman quarterback Kenny Pickett came in for Dinucci, who finished 19/32 with 170 yards, one touchdown and one interception. After another 3 and out for the Panthers, NC State would score as Harmon highlighted the drive once again with a 36-yard reception. The Panthers inched closer after a 43-yard field goal by redshirt freshman place kicker Alex Kessman with 7:56 left in the game. Just before the 2-minute mark, senior Jaylen Samuels busted out a 40-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach at 35-17.
NC State improved to 6-1 on the season and 4-0 in conference play, while Pitt falls to 2-5 overall and winless in the conference at 0-3. The Panthers seek out that first ACC win as they head to Duke next week.