The Panthers converted two fourth-down plays in the game, but on fourth down at the 2 in the second overtime, a pass from quarterback Pat Bostick to tight end Darrell Strong was knocked away in the end zone to secure a stunning 48-45 win for the Midshipmen. Wannstedt decided not to kick a 19-yard field goal to tie the score again.
"Rather than kicking the extra point?'' Wannstedt said. "We only forced them to punt once. We were on the 2-yard line, and we felt good about the play. We really felt like we had a good matchup there with Darrell. We had worked on it. It was our two-point play.We went for it on fourth down a lot more than I was comfortable with. Trust me. During the course of the game.
"That was not normal football situations out there. Going for it on fourth down as many times as we did, but we felt like we had to early, just to stay in the thing. The one we thought about on the goal line, we kicked the field goal on fourth-and-four. We lost a yard on third down on a pass to Darrell. If we had made a yard or two, I probably would have went for that one.''
Navy (4-2) ran through Pittsburgh (2-4) from all angles, ripping the Panthers for 331 yards on the ground, but the Midshipmen junior quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada also threw for 166 yards. But the Pitt offense basically matched that prowess with 227 yards rushing, including an amazing 165 and three touchdowns on 32 carries by LeSean McCoy, and 191 yards passing from Bostick (20 of 28) with one touchdown and one interception.
Bostick hit wideout Marcel Pestano for 16 yards on first down in the second overtime, and McCoy ran for six to the 3. On second down, McCoy picked up just one, however, and Bostick was called on to pass. His toss to tight end Nate Byham was incomplete, and so was his fourth-down play to Strong.
"I thought I'd just put it up to give him a chance, and I would put it as high as I could,'' Bostick said in his first media session. "He's 6-6, so I wanted to give him a chance to come down with it. But I put a little too much on it, I guess.
"But that's neither here nor there, because we had plenty of chances to win the game. We scored a lot of points, so we're doing something right. But when you're not winning games, there's something to be said for that, too.''
The offensive onslaught helped forge a 38-38 tie in regulation, as Navy place-kicker Joey Bullen hit a 36-yard field goal with 4:57 remaining. Bullen's 48-yard attempt to win the game in overtime was well short.
In overtime, each team scored a touchdown on its first possession. Pitt benefitted from an offsides penalty to get a first down to the 13 instead of kicking a field goal. On third down from the 1, Bostick leaned in for the score.
Navy scored easily, as safety Mike Phillips bit on the first play, and Kaipo connected with Reggie Campbell for a 25-yard touchdown pass. Bullen kicked a 29-yard field goal on the second possession to give Navy a three-point lead and set up Pitt's fateful final drive.
"We had several opportunities to have a chance to win the game,'' Wannstedt said. "There wasn't one guy or one play, but we didn't (win it). I thought the guys battled. The effort was there. Obviously, we gave up too many points.
"Any time a team only punts once, you're probably not going to win the game, regardless of the score. Coming into the game, I felt like the players had practiced hard, and we were ready to play. We just couldn't come up, once again, with a turnover. A team like that, you've got to force a couple.''
Notes: Conor Lee kicked five extra points and has set a Pitt record for conversions with 64 straight. He surpassed Carson Long's mark of 60 set from 1974-75. ... McCoy has nine rushing touchdowns this season and is three short of Tony Dorsett's freshman mark of 12. ... Middle linebacker Scott McKillop again led Pitt in tackles with 14, including 12 solo, while safety Eric Thatcher had a career-best 12 stops (11 solo). ... Fullback Conredge Collins had a career-best 52 rushing yards to go with one catch for seven yards. LaRod Stephens-Howling was the starting kickoff returner with Lowell Robinson and had had four for 84 yards with a long run of 45. Robinson also had a 45-yard kick return and three total for 76 yards. ... Oderick Turner led Pitt with six catches for 74 yards and one five-yard touchdown. ... The attendance was 30,103.
McCoy Runs Wild, Pitt Loses In 2OT To Navy
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