Navy beats Pittsburgh on game-winning kick 24-21
One week after missing an extra point in the second overtime
that cost his team, Navy kicker Nick Sloan redeemed himself
Saturday against Pittsburgh.
Sloan booted a 30-yard field-goal as time expired that gave the
Midshipmen a 24-21 victory over the Panthers.
Navy (4-3) snapped a two-game losing streak and needs just two
wins to become eligible for a bowl game.
After Sloan missed the extra point against Toledo last week, the
Rockets scored on their next possession to escape with a 45-44
victory. Sloan said he heard Pitt coaches make comments about that
game when he was near their sideline. Nonetheless, he didn’t feel
any added pressure when he lined up for the game-winning kick.
”It’s every kickers dream to be in this situation,” Sloan
said. ”It’s definitely what separates the good kickers from the
bad kickers. I thought of it as just another kick. That’s all I can
Navy finally got into a rhythm in the second half and put
together their most impressive drive of the game to take a 14-13
lead with 14:28 left in the game.
Reserve fullback Quinton Singleton’s 9-yard scoring run capped
the 16-play, 91-yard scoring drive that took 8:15 off the clock.
The teams traded touchdowns in the fourth quarter before Sloan
kicked the game-winner.
Tom Savage completed 20 of 27 pass attempts for 203 yards and
two touchdowns for Pitt (4-3).
Pittsburgh’s Devin Street caught nine passes for 96 yards with a
touchdown and became the school’s all-time leading receiver. Street
now has 186 career receptions, surpassing Latef Grim, who had 178
Trailing 14-13 midway through the fourth quarter, Savage threw a
3-yard touchdown pass to freshman Tyler Boyd to give the Panthers a
20-14 lead. Street then caught a short pass for the 2-point
Navy responded on the ensuing possession and tied the game on a
10-play, 71-yard drive capped by a 2-yard run by quarterback Keenan
Reynolds with 3:53 left in the game.
The Midshipmen then forced a 3-and-out on the Panthers’ next
possession and got the ball at Pitt’s 49. Navy ran 11 plays to set
up Sloan’s game-winning kick.
”I wish these games weren’t like this, but we’ll take it,”
Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. ”I’m super-happy for Nick Sloan.
The guy took a beating last week. He’s the guy who took the blame
last week. It wasn’t his fault. We lost as a team and today we won
as a team.”
Pitt opened a 3-0 lead on its first drive on a 25-yard field
goal by Chris Blewitt on a 16-play, 68 yard drive that took 7:32
off the clock. After Don Pearson recovered a fumble by James Conner
to open the second quarter, Navy took the lead on a pass from
Reynolds that deflected off Geoffrey Whiteside and was caught by
senior Marcus Thomas, who ran 58 yards for first career
”Give Navy credit, in a 60-minute game, they found a way to
win,” Pitt coach Paul Chryst said. ”I thought our guy’s effort
was nothing short of what I expected. Obviously, we did not make
enough plays to win the game.”
Another 44-yard field goal by Blewitt pulled Pitt to within 7-6
with 9:23 left in the half. The Panthers then took a 13-7 lead
eight minutes later on a 12-yard pass from Tom Savage to
The Panthers completely dominated the first half and held the
edge in total plays (44-22), time of possession (22:07-7:53) and
Navy entered the game ranked sixth in the nation with 304.2
rushing yards per game, and managed 220 against the Panthers.
”I’m extremely proud of Nick,” Navy linebacker Cody Peterson
said. ”After last week, it’s tough for a kicker because you’re in
the limelight with that one play. By no means was it his fault
because there were so many plays in that game. He came back this
week with ice in his veins and made it.”