Blewitt Field Goal as Time Expires Lifts Pitt Past Georgia Tech

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Pitt’s much-maligned defense rose to the challenge stopping Georgia Tech on a fourth-and-1 run late in the fourth quarter that turned into a game-winning Chris Blewitt 31-yard field goal as time expired to give the Panthers a come-from-behind 37-34 win.

(Photo of Pitt kicker Chris Blewitt. Photo courtesy of Pitt Athletics. Photo by Pete Madia)

Blewitt’s game-winning kick, the second straight year he has beaten Georgia Tech with a late field goal, hit the right upright but bounced in – if it hadn’t he would have gotten another chance as the Yellow Jackets roughed him on the play.

The game-winning kick was set up when the middle of Pitt’s defense led by Tyrique Jarrett and Matt Galambos stuffed Dedrick Mills for no gain on fourth-and-1 at the Georgia Tech 34-yard line with 2:25 to play. The Yellow Jackets missed the first down by a chain link after a video review allowed the spot on the field to stand.

After leading 21-10 late in the first half, it looked like was facing another devastating blown-lead loss after Georgia Tech rallied to take a 34-27 lead on a 10-yard J.J. Green touchdown run off the option with 5:22 to play.

The Panthers were then facing a third-and-11 at their own 24-yard line when lady luck came calling.

Against a zone defense, Nathan Peterman had plenty of time to find a target, and when he spotted tight end Scott Orndoff over the middle. But his pass was tipped by Georgia Tech safety Mike Griffin. The ball, though, ended up in Orndoff’s hands behind the Yellow Jacket defense allowing the big man to rumble for a 74-yard game-tying touchdowns. It was Pitt’s longest touchdown pass in four years.

On Georgia Tech’s ensuing drive, Justin Thomas hit Brad Stewart with a 10-yard pass with Stewart being pushed out of bounds by Pitt’s Ryan Lewis about a yard short of the first down.

Lewis’ tackle turned out to be a huge play when Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson elected to go for it, and Pitt turned away Mills by an inch.

A 16-yard pickup on second down by Qadree Ollison then took most of the drama out of the ending setting Pitt up at the Georgia Tech 14-yard line, and the Panthers were able to run out the rest of the time before Blewitt’s kick.

Blewitt kicked three field goals in all also hitting from 34 and 41 yards and became Pitt’s all-time leader with 52 made field goals in his career. He passed Connor Lee, who had 50 career field goals.

Pitt grabbed the 21-10 lead thanks to a touchdowns runs by Brian O’Neill (24 yards), Ollison (4 yards) and Quadree Henderson (10 yards). The lead would have been even bigger if Green hadn’t returned the kickoff following the Ollison score 96 yards for a Georgia Tech score.

But the Yellow Jackets scored twice in the final 1:48 of the first half to close to within a point, 21-20, at halftime.

Ricky Jeune caught a 31-yard scoring pass from Thomas with 1:48 to go to make it 21-17, and then Harrison Butker kicked a 41-yard field goal with two seconds left in the half after Georgia Tech drove from its own 33 to the Pitt 24 following a Panther punt with 35 seconds left in the half.

Blewitt’s 34-yard field goal restored Pitt’s lead to four, 24-20, late in the third quarter, and then his 41-yard kick early in the fourth quarter but the Panthers up a touchdown.

But Clinton Lynch scored on a 45-yard run with 10:01 to play to tie the game, and after Peterman lost a fumble at his own 39, Green scored to put Georgia Tech in front for the only time in the game.

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