Playoff shakeup: Pitt's upset leaves questions for Clemson
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) Chris Blewitt made a 48-yard field goal with six seconds left as Pittsburgh stunned No. 3 Clemson 43-42, spoiling a record-setting Saturday for quarterback Deshaun Watson and complicating the Tigers' path back to the College Football Playoff.
It was the biggest win for the Panthers (6-4, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) since knocking off No. 2 West Virginia 13-9 in 2007.
Watson threw for an ACC record 580 yards and three touchdowns for Clemson (9-1, 6-1). But his third interception gave Pitt the chance to crawl back from a 42-34 deficit. After Saleem Brightwell's pick and 70-yard return, James Conner finished the drive with a 20-yard TD run.
The Panther defense, which gave up 630 yards, rose up when it counted and stopped Wayne Gallman short on third and fourth down to take the ball with 58 seconds left. Two passes to Scott Orndoff put Pitt within range and Blewitt nailed the kick to send the Panthers into a frenzy.
''Our team had a lot of guts tonight,'' Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said.
And a whole lot of playmakers to topple the defending ACC champs.
Nathan Peterman had a career-best five TD passes and 308 yards. Conner rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown. He also caught one of Peterman's scoring throws.
Blewitt, who had a kick blocked at the end of the opening half, was steely eyed and ready. Narduzzi gave his senior a kiss on the cheek and sent him out for the winning kick.
''As soon as I saw the kick go up, I knew it was going in,'' Orndoff said. ''It was jubilation.''
Clemson had its offense going. Gallman ran for three TDs and Mike Williams had 15 catches for 202 yards and a touchdown.
It was Clemson's first loss at home since 2013 when Florida State, the eventual national champions, won 51-14. It was also the Tigers' first regular-season loss since November 2014 at Georgia Tech, a run of 23 straight games.
''Come Monday, we'll start over because it's a long season,'' Watson said. ''Get ready for Wake Forest. Hopefully, we can clinch the ACC (Atlantic) and punch our ticket'' for the championship game next week.
Pittsburgh: The Panthers showed that Narduzzi's program is taking hold. Peterman stayed calm in the face of Clemson's strong pass rush and Conner was able to avoid the Tigers' middle duo of Carlos Watkins and Dexter Lawrance to keep Pitt moving.
Clemson: Many non-Tiger fans will say this team had it coming after escaping with close wins at home against No. 5 Louisville (42-36 on Oct. 1) and North Carolina State (24-17 in overtime on Oct. 15) after the Wolfpack missed the potential game-winning kick to end regulation. Clemson's path is still clear – win out and hope its one-loss season is better than most others.
Expect a rankings fall for Clemson, certainly from the top five. And there's not that much time left to make up for a loss. After Wake Forest, the Tigers face revived rival South Carolina at Death Valley before potentially heading to Orlando, Florida, for the ACC championship game.
Pittsburgh closes the year with two games at home, starting with Duke next week.
Clemson will try to earn the ACC Atlantic Division title with a win at Wake Forest next Saturday.
More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org