Pitt loses to N.C. State

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- Pitt's defense had a second half melt down as the Panthers blew a 14-point, third quarter lead and fell 38-31 to N.C. State at Carter-Finley Stadium.

Pitt led 7-0 less than two minutes into the game as Dion Lewis capped a 4-play, 48-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run.

The Panthers added to that lead with a 35-yard field goal by Dan Hutchins to cap their second drive but the Wolfpack got onto the board late in the quarter with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Taylor Gentry.

Lewis pushed the Panthers lead to 17-7 with a 7-yard touchdown run by Lewis with 12:11 to play in the half but the Wolfpack pulled to within 17-10 as time expired with a 25-yard field goal from Josh Czajkowski.

The Wolfpack tied the game on their first drive of the second half on a 38-yard pass Wilson to Toney Baker.

Pitt, however, came back with two consecutive touchdown drives. The first score was a traditional drive of six plays for 68 yards which was capped by a 13-yard screen pass from Bill Stull to Cameron Saddler.

The second, however, was a quick strike -- a 79-yard pass from Stull to Jonathan Baldwin -- and gave the Panthers a commanding 31-17 lead with 4:15 to play in the third quarter.

But Wilson and the Wolfpack had different ideas as he found Jarvis Williams with a 33-yard touchdown pass over to of Pitt defensive back Ricky Gary.

N.C. State then forced a Panthers punt and tied the game with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to George Bryan.

The Panthers looked like they had the drive stopped when N.C State faced a fourth-and-14 the Pitt 27, but Wilson scrambled for 21 yards to set up the game-tying touchdown.

Pitt was hoping to answer the score, but a holding penalty sacked the Panthers ensuing drive and they were forced to punt, giving the Wolfpack the ball at their own 29.

N.C. State drove 71 yards in 10 plays and took the lead with 6:28 to play on a 2-yard run off left tackle by Baker.

Two key plays in that drive were a 26-yard pass from Wilson to Steven Howard and a pass interference call on Aaron Berry in the endzone which gave the Wolfpack a first-and-goal from the 2.

The Panthers then went three plays and out and punted with 4:58 to play but Dan Hutchins pinned the Wolfpack at their own 10.

Pitt had new lifer, however, when a bad snap sailed over the head of Wilson and it was recovered by Max Gruder at the Wolfpack 8. In fact, the only play which was close was a throw to the back of the endzone which was just a little bit high for Dorin Dickerson to catch as he got his hands on it but was hit in midair and the ball jarred loose.

But the Panthers didn't get a single yard in four plays and N.C. State held on for the victory.

For more on Pitt sports, check out the new video report, Pitt Stop, with Paul Zeise at post-gazette.com/plus . Paul Zeise can be reached at pzeise@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1720.


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