Moment of the Game
Panthers’ fans were on their feet waving yellow towels- screaming in tumultuous fashion- after kicker (jr.) Alex Kessman connected on his fourth field goal of the game putting Pitt up two halfway through the 4th quarter. It appeared the win streak was theirs for the taking that is when Miami Head Coach Manny Diaz ended the hyperbole with a critical substitution. With just over seven minutes left in regulation, Diaz went with Jarren Williams in crunch-time replacing Perry (10/24 104 yards, 0TDs, 2INTs) and essentially, saving Miami’s hopes of being bowl eligible after an atrocious first half of their season and consequently ripping the life right out of Heinz Field.
Hurricanes’ D was Ready
A week after giving up a few big plays to Georgia Tech, the Canes’ defense was not about to have a repeat performance against an offense that struggles to score, coming into week 9. The D-Line controlled the trenches on a cloudy, rainy day recording four sacks, two INTs and holding the Panthers to a measly 12 points. Weather conditions made this the type of game where a ground and pound-conservative game plan was implicit. Moreover, which team’s defense could make the big play. For Miami, holding Pickett to zero touchdowns with constant pressure proved to be a difference-maker. Both offenses were [as implied] held in check for most of this game, as it was up for grabs late in the fourth.
The Panthers’ defense was primarily the reason this was a close game; late. Aside from the strong performance by their placekicker, defensively they registered two sacks and an INT which kept the game within reach long enough to give their offense an opportunity to get a lead in the fourth while limiting Perry to less than 50% completion percentage with no touchdowns.
Here comes Jarren
The way Jarren Williams looked during the would-be game-winning drive left the football community wondering what the outcome of this game could have been had he started. There were a host of Hurricane fans who clamored for Williams to be the full-time starter, with his play today, Williams may have created an argument to be made. In the closing moments of the game, when the opposing team had gained momentum by taking the edge on a field goal, Jarren Williams put on a scripted performance, much to the dismay of the cheering crowd.
An articulated drive saw Williams complete a third-down conversion to Osborn, a second 3rd down conversion with his legs-scrambling for another first down pick up and run for a nice chunk of change. The very next play Williams hit K.J Osborn for the proverbial “nail in the coffin” TD score off a play-action fake. The score put the Hurricanes up by four with less than a minute left and made the Panthers need to score a touchdown for a win. Pressure off the edge forced Pickett to scramble on a broken play and try to make something out of nothing, on fourth down. They could not. Miami won and robbed Pittsburgh fans of a joyous Homecoming celebration. The loss also made Pitt lose ground on a potential Coastal Championship repeat.