Miami’s perfect season is over. The Hurricanes can only hope their shot at a spot in the College Football Playoff isn’t gone, too.
Freshman quarterback Kenny Pickett ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as Pittsburgh stunned the second-ranked Hurricanes 24-14 on Friday. Pickett bulled over from 6 yards in the first half, flipped a five-yard shovel pass to Qadree Ollison in the third quarter to put the Panthers up 10 and gave Pitt (5-7, 3-5 ACC) all the cushion it would need with a 22-yard fourth-down sprint to the end zone with 2:54 remaining.
Pickett completed 18 of 29 passes for 193 yards and the one score while adding 60 yards rushing in his first career start as Pitt finished a disappointing season with a decisive stunner that could put a dent in the Hurricanes’ national title hopes.
Malik Rosier completed 15 of 34 passes for 187 yards and two scores but was ineffective for most of the day, even briefly getting replaced by backup Evan Schirreffs in the fourth quarter. The Hurricanes (10-1, 7-1 ACC) were held to a season-low 229 yards.
The Hurricanes stressed they’d learned their lesson after spotting Virginia a two-touchdown lead last week before recovering to extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 15 games. Yet Miami walked onto the Heinz Field turf in a weird spot.
The ACC Coastal Division champions are well aware their meeting with No. 4 Clemson in the conference championship game next Saturday will serve as the ultimate arbiter on whether the Hurricanes are worthy of consideration for the College Football Playoff, making the visit to Pittsburgh possibly irrelevant regardless of the outcome if the Hurricanes beat the defending national champions in Charlotte.
Arkansas fires Bielema
Arkansas fired coach Bret Bielema after five disappointing season, moments after a season-ending 48-45 loss to Missouri on Friday. The loss left Arkansas with a 4-8 record, capping only the second losing season of Bielema’s 12-year career. It also left him with a 29-34 record in his five seasons with the Razorbacks, including 11-29 in the SEC.
It was a shockingly poor performance from a coach who led Wisconsin to three Rose Bowl appearances before being hired at Arkansas from Wisconsin after the 2012 season.
Interim athletic director Julie Cromer Peoples informed Bielema of his firing before the coach held his postgame news conference. Cromer Peoples is serving in an interim role after former athletic director Jeff Long was fired two weeks ago.
“During the course of the past five seasons, we have not been able to sustain the success on the field that is expected and required at the University of Arkansas,” Peoples said. “ We are grateful for his contributions to our program and most importantly his investment in the lives of our student-athletes. We wish him the very best both personally and professionally.”
at No. 12 Texas Christian 45, Baylor 22: Kenny Hill threw touchdown passes to three receivers and ran three yards for another score to help TCU wrap up a spot in the Big 12 championship game.
The Horned Frogs (10-2, 7-2 Big 12,) will play No. 3 Oklahoma for the Big 12 title on Dec. 2. That will come three weeks after TCU’s 38-20 loss to the Sooners.
Baylor (1-11, 1-8) jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first 2 minutes, including a safety when Hill was sacked and fumbled in the end zone. But TCU was ahead for good after Hill’s 7-yard TD pass to Jarrison Stewart made it 14-9 with 26 seconds left in the first quarter.
Defensive end Mat Boesen set a TCU record with 5 1/2 of the Horned Frogs’ eight sacks.
Hill completed 26 of 36 passes for 325 yards, including TD passes to Desmon White and Jalen Reagor in the third quarter, a week after he didn’t even travel to Texas Tech because of an apparent concussion.
at No. 15 Central Florida 49, No. 19 South Florida 42: Mike Hughes returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown with 1:28 remaining and Central Florida completed the first unbeaten regular season in program history to wrap up the American Athletic Conference’s East Division title.
The Knights (11-0, 8-0) will host Memphis in the conference title game Dec. 2.
Hughes’ touchdown capped a crazy 53-second span where the Knights took an eight-point lead, South Florida tied it and then the Knights took the lead for good.
The Bulls (9-2, 6-2) tied it at 42 when Quinton Flowers connected with Darnel Salomon for an 83-yard touchdown strike, and then found D’Ernest Johnson for a 2-point play. Flowers finished with 605 yards of total offense. On the ensuing kickoff, Hughes found an opening on the right side and scored.
UCF’s McKenzie Milton was 29 of 44 for 373 yards and four touchdowns.
at Houston 24, Navy 14: D’Eriq King threw for 277 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more scores to lead the Cougars (7-4, 5-3 American) past the Midshipmen (6-5, 4-4).
King completed 21 of 27 passes and found Steven Dunbar for a 61-yard touchdown pass to give Houston a 21-14 lead with 14 minutes left in the game. Dunbar finished with 142 yards receiving on eight catches. King, who started his third straight game, rushed for 57 yards and scored on runs of nine and two yards.
Malcolm Perry rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, and Anthony Gargiulo added 71 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries to lead Navy.