DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Kenny Pickett threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score as Pittsburgh pulled away to beat Duke 54-29 on Saturday.
Pickett threw for 405 yards as the Panthers (7-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference, No. 25 CFP) bounced back from a home loss to Miami a week earlier. They have their best nine-game record since an 8-1 mark in 2009.
Sam Scarton kicked four field goals for Pittsburgh, which leads the ACC’s Coastal Division and improved to 4-0 in road games. Jordan Addison, who scored on a reception and a rush, racked up 171 receiving yards on seven catches.
Duke (3-6, 0-5) lost its fifth game in a row. Quarterback Gunnar Holmberg exited with an upper-body injury on the team’s final possession of the first half after throwing for 174 yards and a touchdown. Running back Mataeo Durant gained 81 yards on 25 carries.
Pittsburgh went ahead for good on Pickett’s 22-yard scramble with four minutes left in the first half after an array of potential momentum-turning plays. The Panthers led 30-19 at halftime, with Scarton connecting on his third field goal in an eight-minute span on the final play of the half.
Duke drove to the Pittsburgh 1-yard line on the game’s opening possession before Durant’s fumble and a wild chase for the ball. Pittsburgh responded, going 76 yards in seven plays with Pickett hitting Jared Wayne on a 10-yard scoring pass.
Duke scored on its second possession, with Charlie Ham’s 46-yard field goal giving the Blue Devils their first first-half points in three games.
Moments later following a Pickett fumble, Duke was denied on Durant’s fourth-down run from the Pittsburgh 1. The next play, Pittsburgh running back Vincent Davis Jr. was tackled in the end zone for a safety.
After that, Duke’s main highlights were Holmberg’s 32-yard scoring pass to Jalon Calhoun and Jaylen Stinson’s 86-yard kickoff return.
Pittsburgh: Addison’s 47-yard catch in the second quarter gave him 11 touchdown receptions, ranking among the nation’s leaders. That’s the most for a Pittsburgh player since Larry Fitzgerald’s 22 in 2003. Addison scored in the third quarter on a 2-yard play that was ruled a rushing play.
Duke: Durant eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark in the first quarter. He became Duke’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Chris Douglas in 2003. Durant is the sixth player in program history to reach 1,000 rushing yards in a season.
Pittsburgh could move back into the AP Top 25 after slipping out this week following a two-week stay and rising to as high as No. 17.
Pittsburgh: Home Thursday night vs. North Carolina.
Duke: Visits Virginia Tech next Saturday.