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Pitt defeats Miami 35-23, becomes bowl eligible

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

So, I mean, who saw that coming?

Pitt, as they're wont to do, came out and won a game they really had no business winning. Miami was seen as the better team, was playing at home, and had the momentum of Senior Day behind them. Pitt had, well, an injured star and a chance to go to a bowl game. That's why they play the games, boys and girls.

The Panthers ended up not only winning, but did so rather easily, 35-23, to become bowl eligible.

James Conner was clearly not 100% but, man, did he look good early on. He finished with only 75 yards, but had a limited 16 carries and also added two touchdowns to break Tony Dorsett's record for most rushing touchdowns and most all-purpose touchdowns.

The biggest takeaway for me was how Pitt continually responded once the Hurricanes closed the gap. Miami cut the lead to 14-10 and Conner pushed it to 21-10 on his second touchdown run. Miami cut it to 21-20 in the third quarter but a Chris James touchdown bumped it back up to eight. Miami got it down to 28-23 and a sneak by Voytik scored another touchdown to push it to 35-23.

Pitt's offense just responded to every challenge.

And while the defense wasn't lights out, holding Duke Johnson and Miami to only 23 was more than adequate. They weren't great on third down but kept the Hurricanes out of the end zone, forcing them to settle for three field goals. Just a decent job by them to keep Miami from matching Pitt's touchdowns.

Birmingham, anyone?

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