Pitt Football extends win streak to four, awaits bowl game invitation after 8-4 after defeating Miami

Panthers are bowl eligible for fourth time in five seasons, 1-3 in that span

Written By Kayla Sterner, Staff Writer

Seeking revenge after last year’s loss to Miami, the Panthers (8-4, 5-3 ACC) stormed the Hurricanes (5-7, 3-5 ACC) for a 42-16 victory — the biggest win they’ve ever clutched over Miami. Pitt ended the season on a four game win streak and now waits for an invitation to the bowl game. 

The Panthers went full throttle from kickoff and boasted a 28-0 advantage at the half thanks to tough defense and aggressive offense. After the defense intercepted the ball at the 11-yard line in their own territory, junior running back Israel Abanakinda found the end zone on a two yard rush and kicker Ben Sauls made the extra-point to take a 7-0 lead. The Hurricanes made a quarterback switch in the next drive, but it still resulted in an interception. 

With just under a minute left to play in the first, Pitt put together a two-play, 78-yard touchdown drive, courtesy of a pass from senior quarterback Kedon Slovis to senior wide receiver Jared Wayne for 66 yards. Abanikanda found the endzone again to start the second quarter to boast a 21-0 lead. 

A seven-play, 89-yard drive was capped by another touchdown pass from Slovis to Wayne, which left Miami with 28 unanswered points heading into the break.

The Hurricanes scored a field goal in the third quarter to trail 28-3, but Slovis and Wayne responded with another touchdown to keep their feet on Miami’s necks. Miami put points on the board twice in the fourth quarter, but it was too late for them to think about a comeback. 

Redshirt senior running back C’Bo Flemister rushed for 26-yards for another Pittsburgh touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Hurricanes responded with another touchdown but still left 26 points unanswered.

 Abanakinda has been a star on the ground for this offense all season. He had two touchdowns, 111 yards and fifteen carries in the road win against Miami. The Brooklyn native accumulated 1,431 rushing yards this season and is just 58 yards away from snagging LeSean McCoy’s spot for the seventh-most rushing yards in a single season. 

Slovis was 18-for-28 with 256 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Wayne had 11 receptions for 199 yards and three touchdowns. 

The Panthers had 504 yards compared to the Hurricane’s 385 but still fumbled the ball seven times.

The victory marks Pat Narduzzi’s 61st win as head coach, making him second on the all-time wins list.