Sep 26, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Louisville Cardinals quarterback Malik Cunningham (3) scrambles with the ball against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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No. 21 Pitt holds on to defeat No. 24 Louisville, 23-20

Quarterback Kenny Pickett passed for 220 yards and ran for 28 more, and No. 21 Pittsburgh overcame squandering a 13-point lead in the first half to hand No. 24 Louisville its second straight loss, 23-20 on Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

Pickett threw two touchdown passes, Alex Kessman made all three of his field goal tries — all from 40-plus yards — and Pitt’s defense delivered with three fourth-quarter stops.

The Panthers (3-0, 2-0 in ACC) got another strong performance defensively despite the points they allowed. Save for a 75-yard touchdown run for the Cardinals’ Javian Hawkins late in the first quarter, Pitt limited Louisville (1-2, 0-2) to only 41 more rushing yards as a team.

Hawkins’ 12 other runs gained three total yards. Quarterback Malik Cunningham was injured late in the game, hit as he threw, and had to be attended to on the field. He was taken off the field on a stretcher and cart wearing a neck brace, but gave a thumbs up.

Pitt entered the game with the nation’s top ranked rushing defense at 26 yards per game. The Panthers also sacked Cunningham seven times, with three for senior Patrick Jones II.

Freshman Jordan Addison caught seven passes for 77 yards and a touchdown, and Taysir Mack caught a 40-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter which he kept moving forward after apparently being tackled and ran untouched into the end zone to give Pitt a 20-17 halftime lead.

The play was reviewed to see if Mack’s knee touched the ground, but it was upheld.

The Cardinals rallied from a 13-0 deficit to take a 17-13 lead on Cunningham’s 21-yard touchdown pass to Tutu Atwell, who was left alone on a coverage mixup.

James Turner made two field goals for the Cardinals. Cunningham finished 9 of 21 for 107 yards with three interceptions.

With Louisville trailing by three and Pittsburgh in the red zone, C.J. Avery intercepted a Pickett pass with 11:27 to play in the fourth quarter and returned it 40 years to the Cardinals’ 45-yard-line. But two plays later, Damar Hamlin intercepted a Cunningham pass, and the Panthers re-took possession.

The Panthers’ defense got a key fourth-down stop with 6:02 to play to forced a punt on Louisville’s next possession, and then finished off the Cardinals with Jason Pinnock’s interception with 1:26 left on the game clock. Cunningham was injured on that play.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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