Sep 4, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) carries the ball against Massachusetts Minutemen defensive back Te'Rai Powell (21) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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Pittsburgh breezes past UMass, 51-7

Kenny Pickett threw for 300 yards and two touchdowns to lift host Pittsburgh to a 51-7 rout of Massachusetts on Saturday in the season opener for both teams.

Pickett completed 30 of 40 passes and tossed scoring strikes to tight end Lucas Krull and Jordan Addison. A.J. Davis, Israel Abanikanda, Vincent Davis, Daniel Carter and backup quarterback Nick Patti each rushed for a score for Pittsburgh (1-0).

Eleven different Panthers reeled in at least one pass, with Jared Wayne leading the way with six catches for 55 yards.

Pittsburgh secured a 23-0 lead at halftime after holding a 358-50 edge in total yards and 20-3 advantage in first downs. The Panthers let up a bit in the second half before finishing the game with a 597-209 edge in total yards and 35-12 advantage in first downs.

UMass’ Tyler Lytle completed just 14 of 31 passes for 167 yards and scored on a 1-yard plunge early in the fourth quarter. That was the lone bright spot for the Minutemen (0-1), who have lost 12 in a row since posting a 37-29 win over Akron on Sept. 28, 2019.

Pickett connected with Krull on a 5-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring with 4:56 remaining in the first half. The short pass capped an eight-play, 60-yard drive.

Addison reeled in a short pass from Pickett and benefited from fellow wideout Jaylon Barden’s freeing block to scamper 12 yards for a score. The Panthers’ lead remained at 13-0 after Sam Scarton missed the ensuing extra-point attempt.

Scarton atoned for his missed kick by making a 35-yard field goal and A.J. Davis added to Pittsburgh’s advantage by taking an inside handoff and scampering 18 yards for a score with 36 seconds left in the second quarter.

Vincent Davis rushed for a 6-yard touchdown early in the third quarter and Abanikanda breezed in from 12 yards out to stake the Panthers to a 37-0 lead.

Lytle’s touchdown plunge put UMass on the board before Patti and Carter scored from 9 and 6 yards out, respectively, to cap the scoring.

Prior to the game, the Panthers honored the members of the 1976 national championship team — including Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett.

–Field Level Media

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