Pitt Misses Game-Winning Field Goal, Falls To Duke In Double Overtime


Coming off of last week’s blowout defeat to Georgia Tech, the Pitt Panthers welcomed their first ranked opponent of the season to Heinz Field. The Duke Blue Devils, last year’s ACC Coastal Division Champions, were looking for revenge from a 58-55 loss to Pitt last season.

The Panthers were attempting to jump back into a tie for first place in the ACC, but Duke was looking for some separation in the division.

With two seconds left in the game, Pitt kicker Chris Blewitt missed a 26-yard field goal to win the game in regulation. Instead, Duke backup quarterback Thomas Sirk barreled into the end zone to give Duke a 51-48 double overtime victory.

Pitt fans were left with yet another dose of disappointment for the 2014 football season.

Pitt sophomore runningback James Conner had another great performance, rushing for a career-high 263 yards and three touchdowns on 38 carries. Unfortunately, Conner did not even have a touch on Pitt’s last drive of the game, which resulted in a field goal.

Duke opened up the scoring with a Jamison Crowder 39-yard touchdown pass from Anthony Boone. Conner then responded with a 1-yard rushing TD to even the game at 7.

Pitt’s defense seemed nonexistent at times, as Boone tossed a 10-yard TD pass to Shaun Wilson to retake the lead. In the beginning of the second quarter, Pitt quarterback Chad Voytik scampered for a 13-yard TD run to tie the game at 14.

Voytik then connected with junior tight end J.P. Holtz on an 11-yard TD pass to give Pitt a 21-14 lead, but the Pitt passing defense once again let up a deep pass, as Boone connected with Crowder for a 45-yard TD to tie the game at 21.

Nov 1, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Duke Blue Devils wide receiver Jamison Crowder (3) drags his foot to stay in bounds with a pass reception against Pittsburgh Panthers defensive back Lafayette Pitts (6) during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Voytik tossed another TD from three yards out to Holtz, giving Pitt a 28-21 lead, but Boone hit Crowder on a 27-yard pass inside the 1-yard line, setting up a Thomas Sirk 1-yard TD run as time expired in the first half.

The third quarter became defensive, as only Duke kicker Ross Martin nailed a 23-yarder to give Duke a 31-28 lead.

Early in the fourth quarter, Blewitt tied the game with a 38-yard field goal, but Duke kick returner DeVon Edwards returned a kickoff 99 yards to give the Blue Devils a 38-31 advantage. Pitt punched back as Conner ran over Duke defenders and scored from one yard out to tie the game.

Pitt’s defense forced Duke to punt, and Voytik connected on a 26-yard pass to wide receiver Dontez Ford, helping set up a game-winning field goal attempt.  As the Pitt fans waited to see their Panthers knock off the 24th-ranked Blue Devils, Blewitt missed the field goal.

In the first overtime, Boone scored from 12 yards out, and then Conner scored from 14 yards out, tying the game 45-45.

In the second overtime, Pitt settled for a 43-yard field goal, but the defense could not stop Duke, as Sirk ran it in from 5 yards out on third and 2.

For me, I had two head scratchers:

  • Why did Pitt not run the ball to the middle of the field for the game winning field goal attempt?
  • Why did Conner not touch the ball in the second overtime?

The 51-48 loss was crippling to Pitt’s hopes of winning the ACC Coastal Division, and now the Panthers (4-5, 2-3 ACC) need to win two of their final three games to become bowl eligible.

Pitt had 37 first downs compared to 25 by Duke. Pitt amassed 594 yards compared to 438 by Duke. Voytik was 16 of 24 for 236 yards and two TDs, whereas Boone was 23 for 31 for 266 yards and three TDs.  Conner racked up 263 yards and 3 TDs.   Pitt wide receiver Tyler Boyd had 7 receptions for 140 yards, whereas Crowder finished with 9 receptions for 165 yards and 2 TDs.


Pitt will travel and face North Carolina on Saturday, Nov. 15.