Pitt feasted on a pair of costly Duke turnovers and running back Israel Abanikanda had another strong game as the host Panthers prevailed 28-26 by stopping a two-point conversion in the final minute Saturday afternoon.
Duke was in Pitt territory with less than four minutes remaining, but couldn’t convert on third- and fourth-and-5 plays. Then the Blue Devils took over at the Pittsburgh 22 after the Panthers botched a punt play, scoring on a fourth-and-18 play on Riley Leonard’s 19-yard pass to Jaylen Coleman with 47 seconds left. It was followed by the second failed conversion in the final 10 minutes for Duke (7-4, 4-3).
Pitt scored its first touchdown on a 6-year run by Abanikanda and its final one on a defensive score on Brandon Hill’s return of a fumble in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers (7-4, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) held on to win the matchup that might determine second place in the ACC’s Coastal Division.
Duke quarterback Riley Leonard threw for three touchdowns and ran for another. He was 24-for-45 for 290 yards, but Duke’s rushing attack was limited to 63 yards.
Quarterback Kedon Slovis of Pitt was 15-for-32 for 190 yards with a touchdown throw and two interceptions. Ben Sauls kicked field goals of 47 and 51 yards in the first half for the Panthers.
Abanikanda rushed for 113 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown and two-point conversion run.
Pitt’s first touchdown came one play after a punt hit Duke return man Jalon Calhoun and the Panthers had the ball at the Duke 6-yard line. Abanikanda ran for the score.
The Panthers went ahead 10 seconds before halftime when Slovis connected with Jared Wayne on a 15-yard play.
The score remained 20-14 through a scoreless third quarter before Hill’s touchdown while on defense and Abanikanda’s two-point conversion run. Down 28-14, Duke was quick to respond, with Leonard’s 49-yard pass play to Jordan Moore.
Duke’s first touchdown was set up by a blocked punt and came on Leonard’s 28-yard hookup with Calhoun in the first quarter. The Blue Devils were up 14-13 on Leonard’s 1-yard run with 3:01 left in the first half.
–Field Level Media
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