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The Turning Point: Saleem Brightwell Interception

A game with many twists and turns waited until the very end to turn the tide for good in Pitt’s win.

Pittsburgh v Clemson Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

If Pitt’s game against Clemson had any more momentum shifts, I may have needed an oxygen mask. Pitt got the last laugh in their thrilling 43-42 victory over No. 2 Clemson and there was no shortage of twists and turns along the way.

There was a controversial overturned 100-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Jordan Whitehead, which would have Pitt up by 14. There was a questionable pass interference call on Ryan Lewis that shifted the momentum on 3rd and 26 that led to a Clemson touchdown. There was also a questionable personal foul call on Clemson, which kept Pitt alive. And of course, there were the questionable calls that went against the Tigers as well.

Despite all of those crazy plays, our turning point came with Clemson driving and already up by eight points. All the Tigers needed was a field goal to put the Panthers in big trouble. There was less than six minutes remaining in the game and Deshaun Watson was having himself a game. Trying to capitalize on his big day, Clemson decided to go to the air once again. This time, however, it did not work in their favor.

Watson faked the inside run and rolled towards his right, throwing to the end zone. That’s where redshirt freshman, Saleem Brightwell jumped up and snagged Pitt’s third interception of the day. Grabbing the ball at the goal line, Brightwell followed his blockers up the sideline and was tripped up at the Clemson 30-yard line. The play gave Pitt life when they looked like they were about to be put on life support in the game.

Pitt scored three plays later on a 20-yard run by James Conner after a bad pass interference call by the officials against Clemson. Despite a missed two-point conversion, the interception put the Panthers in position to have a key defensive stand, followed by Blewitt’s big kick to give Pitt the big upset.

That upset does not happen without the Brightwell interception.

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