Joedy McCreary, AP
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Darrin Hall rushed for career highs of 254 yards and three touchdowns, including the go-ahead 4-yard score with 10:48 to play, and Pittsburgh upset Duke 24-17 on Saturday.
Hall broke a century-old school record with his 92-yard touchdown run that came 18 seconds after Duke took a double-digit lead, and also scored on an early 79-yard run for the Panthers (3-5, 1-3 Atlantic Coast Conference).
The touchdown underdogs had lost five of six but gained a season-high 485 total yards and beat a power-conference team for the first time this season.
“We talked, the key to victory was being able to run the football,” coach Pat Narduzzi said. “And I think we proved we can do that.”
Daniel Jones was 15 of 33 for 272 yards with two touchdown passes in the second half, a 58-yarder to Shaun Wilson and a 39-yarder to T.J. Rahming that gave the Blue Devils a short-lived 17-7 lead in the final minute of the third quarter. Duke (4-4, 1-4) has lost four straight after opening the season with four wins.
“It takes a whole lot of mental toughness and focus to get back on track,” Jones said. “We are certainly capable of that. As a team, we’ll look to bring that out of each other and prepare as hard as we can and work on keeping our heads focused on what we have in front of us.”
Alex Kessman made it a seven-point game with his 45-yard field goal with 1:41 to play. The Blue Devils moved inside Pitt territory in the final minute before Jones’ final pass bounced off tight end Daniel Helm’s hands and was intercepted by Jordan Whitehead with 45 seconds remaining.
Hall gave a colossal boost to the ACC’s worst ground game. Pitt ranks 113th in the nation with an average of 113.7 yards rushing and failed to reach the 100-yard mark on the ground in three of its previous four games.
Pittsburgh: The Panthers seem to have found their running back — and maybe their offense, too. Hall was listed as a co-starter with Qadree Ollison on the pre-game depth chart, but coach Pat Narduzzi clearly kept riding the hot hand. Ollison carried three times for 17 yards while Hall more than doubled his previous career high of 103 yards set two years ago against Miami. Pitt had broken the 400-yard mark only once before this, gaining 479 against Rice.
Duke: This is starting to feel like a repeat of 2016 for the Blue Devils, who finished last season with four wins and now will be stuck on that number again for more than a full month since their victory at North Carolina on Sept. 23. The Blue Devils have allowed three of their last four opponents to gain at least 400 total yards after not allowing that many in any of their first four games.
Pittsburgh: The Panthers return home to face Virginia.
Duke: The Blue Devils visit No. 14 Virginia Tech next Saturday night.
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