In what may have been his last game at Heinz Field, Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett put on one of the best performances of his college career, as he threw for over 400 yards, completed just under 70 percent of his passes and led Pitt to a 47-14 rout of Virginia Tech on Saturday night.
All told, Pickett threw for 404 yards and two touchdowns, completing 35 of his 52 passes. The senior signal-caller also added 15 yards and another score on the ground, bringing his total yardage on the day to 419 and his touchdown total to three. His only notable mistake was an interception in the first quarter, which he bounced back from well.
The game was not the best of Pickett’s career by any statistical measure, but it may have been his most well rounded. His passing yardage was the second most in a single game in his career, with his personal best of 411 coming in Pitt’s 30-29 loss to NC State on Oct. 3. But the 411-yard outing was soured by the fact that he completed just 56 percent of his passes and suffered a crushing defeat.
Conversely, Saturday marked Pickett’s highest passing-yard total in a winning effort in his career and saw him complete 67.3 percent of his passes. The game also saw Pickett accrue 8,000 total yards in his career, a mark reached by only four other players in program history. Pickett now has 7,579 passing yards and 570 rushing yards in addition to 51 touchdowns.
Pickett’s performance came at an opportune time, as it fell on Senior Day and could make for a fitting farewell should he decide not to return next season. And his solid outing also benefited fellow senior D.J. Turner, who stood in for Jordan Addison admirably, amassing 184 yards and scoring his third career touchdown.
With a memorable finale to the home slate in the books, Pickett will lead the Panthers into Death Valley next Saturday and look to maintain Pitt’s perfect record at that venue. The team’s only previous trip to Clemson was in 2016, and it ended in a 43-42 upset of the Tigers led by future NFL draft pick Nathan Peterman. The showdown with Clemson will kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET and air on ESPN.