A win in that game might be enough to keep Miami in that playoff, but a loss could put the Hurricanes on the outside looking in. This loss, though, erases any margin of error the Hurricanes had heading into that game as they won't make the playoffs as a two-loss at-large team. Miami now sits Number 2 in the CFP rankings, but is nearly certain to drop out of the top 4, when the rankings are updated on Tuesday.
It wasn't until the Hurricanes' win over Virginia Tech on November 4 that they started being taken seriously as a national title contender. Pickett was making his first collegiate start, and it's likely to be the first of many after this awesome performance.
Pitt freshman QB Kenny Pickett completed 18-of-29 passes for 193 yards, one passing touchdown and two rushing scores in Saturday's 24-14 upset of No. 2 Miami. He had 125 yards on fourteen carries and a touchdown and added three receptions for 25 yards and a touchdown. He led his team to convert 8 of 16 third downs, keeping a exhausted Miami defense on the field for the majority of the contest.
The Panthers came out strong from the start, with Pickett - who was making his first start of the season - a force. It had a stretch of four straight games from October 7 through October 28 that were all decided by eight points or fewer.
Pittsburgh has lost two games in a row and will miss the postseason for the first time since 2007. Shirreffs went 0 for 2 and the Hurricanes could not convert a first down with him under center.
The Hurricanes have 19 takeaways across the last five games, according to STATS LLC, and 27 for the season, which tied for third in the nation.
The Panthers defense allowed just 232 total yards.
Later in the quarter, Sheldrick Redwine jarred the ball loose on a massive hit, and Jaquan Johnson recovered at the Pittsburgh 42.
Even before last week's slow start against Virginia, Miami flirted with disaster at various points this season.
With a ideal 10-0 record, Miami is one of just four remaining unbeaten teams at the FBS level and the only unbeaten team in the ACC. Pitt had little trouble running the football, collecting 158 yards on the ground.
Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi was so confident in what he saw from his team early that coming out of the locker room for the third quarter, he told ESPN's Allison Williams the Panthers were going to win. One of his punts was shanked for just 13 yards, and led to a Pittsburgh touchdown.
Miami dodged a bullet against Virginia to remain in the national title hunt, but the ACC Coastal Division champs are hardly out of the woods as they have shown a propensity to play down to the competition, often needing late heroics to pull out victories. Before Friday's game, there was a line of thinking that both the Tigers and Panthers could end up in the playoff from the ACC no matter the result of next weekend's game; the chances of that happening were erased by the Panthers.
Miami entered the matchup with a 15-game winning streak that dated back to last season.
Mark Richt's Canes will look for payback and a conference crown in the rematch. "You only get 12 opportunities, and each one of them is precious".