Pitt’s Pickett, Maddox Earn ACC Honors
PITTSBURGH — Pitt freshman quarterback Kenny Pickett and senior cornerback Avonte Maddox were honored by the Atlantic Coast Conference today for their performances in the Panthers’ 24-14 victory over No. 2 Miami.
(Photo courtesy of Pitt Athletics)
Pickett was named the ACC’s Rookie of the Week, while Maddox was named Co-Defensive Back of the Week. The duo proved instrumental in helping Pitt halt Miami’s 15-game winning streak, which had been the longest active streak in the nation.
In the first start of his college career, Pickett (Oakhurst, N.J./Ocean Township) accounted for three touchdowns (two rushing and one passing). He completed 18-of-29 passes (62%) for 193 yards with zero interceptions and was also Pitt’s second-leading rusher with 60 yards on 13 carries (4.6 avg.).
Pickett’s six-yard touchdown rush gave the Panthers a 10-7 lead right before intermission. Late in the third quarter he connected with Qadree Ollison on a five-yard shovel pass to increase the advantage to 17-7. Pickett’s final TD proved to be the clincher—a perfectly executed bootleg on fourth down that the freshman took for a 22-yard score.
Pickett became the first true freshman to start at quarterback for Pitt since Pat Bostick in 2007.
Maddox (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King) saved his most heroic performance for his final collegiate game. The senior compiled four tackles, two quarterback sacks and two pass breakups. Maddox iced the upset when he strip-sacked Malik Rosier with 1:45 left, turning the ball and the game over to the Panthers.
Both of Maddox’s sacks came during the critical fourth quarter. His overall play spearheaded a stingy Pitt secondary that limited Miami to just 187 yards on 15-of-36 passing (42%).
The No. 2 Hurricanes became the highest-ranked opponent the Panthers had ever beaten in Pittsburgh. Prior to the win over Miami, the highest-ranked foe Pitt had defeated at home was No. 3 Fordham, 13-0, at Pitt Stadium on Nov. 8, 1941.
Pitt Named FWAA National Team of the Week
DALLAS – The Pitt Panthers held Miami to a season-low 232 total yards – only 45 on the ground – and had a season-high four sacks while true freshman quarterback Kenny Pickett, in his first career start, ran for two touchdowns and threw for another to end No. 2 Miami’s hopes of an undefeated season with a 24-14 win Friday. For pulling off one of the season’s biggest upsets and beating Miami at home for the first time since 1997, Pitt (5-7) has earned the Football Writers Association of America National Team of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Nov. 25.
The announcement came on “Off Campus with Mark Packer” on ESPNU Radio on SiriusXM. Each Monday during the season, the FWAA National Team of the Week will be unveiled during the program, which airs weekdays from 4-7 p.m. ET.
Pickett, who completed 18-of-29 passes for 193 yards and added 60 more on the ground, sealed the win with a 22-yard touchdown run around left end on 4th-and-6 with 2:54 left in the game. Pickett’s six-yard run with 35 seconds left before halftime had given the Panthers a 10-7 lead.
“There is a lot of celebrating going on in that locker room,” Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said. “For the seniors, this is one to remember for a long, long time. For our younger guys, it’s reached the point where you believe and have faith, then anything can happen. I talked about the past and the big upset win at West Virginia. It happened in Clemson last year. I told the players it’s about time it happened in Pittsburgh.”
The Panthers beat a top-two team at home for the first time in school history while also snapping a six-game home losing streak to the Hurricanes. Pitt has now won four consecutive games against top-three teams when unranked, and Narduzzi is 2-0 at Pitt against top-three teams, including last year’s 43-42 win at No. 2 Clemson, the eventual national champion.
The Football Writers Association of America has named a national team of the week since the 2002 season. Members of the 12-person FWAA All-America Committee – plus one fan vote from Twitter – decide the weekly honor.
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