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Monday December 6th, 2021 9:27AM

Panthers run over Georgia Tech

By The Associated Press

ATLANA — Vincent Davis rushed for a career-best 247 yards, including a 74-yard scamper on the first play of the game and a late touchdown that clinched Pittsburgh's 34-20 victory over Georgia Tech on Thursday night.

In the makeup of a game that was postponed last month because of COVID-19 issues, the Panthers (6-5, 5-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) finished off a winning regular season and defied their standing as one of the league's worst rushing teams.

Davis, whose previous high was 69 yards in last year's Quick Lane Bowl, eclipsed that on the first snap against Georgia Tech (3-7, 3-6).

The sophomore burst through a huge hole up the middle and took off with no one around, finally getting dragged down at the Georgia Tech 9 to set up the first of four short field goals by Alex Kessman.

Davis finished off his dynamic performance with a 38-yard touchdown run with 2 minutes remaining. He also had runs of 32 and 21 yards, averaging 9.9 yards on 25 carries.

The Panthers finished with 317 yards on the ground after coming into the night ranked 13th in the ACC at 104.5 per game.

Kenny Pickett hooked up with DJ Turner on a 60-yard scoring pass and tallied Pittsburgh's other TD on a 1-yard sneak. But the Panthers missed numerous opportunities to blow the game open, getting stopped on a fourth-down play from the 1 and settling for all those field goals — none longer than 30 yards.

Freshman Jeff Sims ran for a 1-yard touchdown and tossed a pair of scoring passes — 21 yards to Jalen Camp and an 18-yarder to Dylan Deveney with 6:01 remaining that gave the Yellow Jackets a glimmer of hope after they fell behind 23-7 early in the second half.

But Davis snuffed out any thoughts of a comeback.

THE TAKEAWAY

Pittsburgh: The Panthers were dreadful in the red zone, which allowed the Yellow Jackets to get back in the game. Pickett, who was 17 of 34 for 196 yards, needed to be more efficient.

Georgia Tech: Three first-half turnovers really hurt the Yellow Jackets. Sims tossed a pair of interceptions, one when he failed to spot the safety and another when his receiver slipped making a cut. Quez Jackson had an interception for the Yellow Jackets, but he fumbled the ball foolishly trying to lateral. The Panthers recovered and went on to kick a field goal.

LIGHTS OUT

The game was delayed about 5 minutes in the second quarter after a campus-wide power surge knocked out a bank of lights.

It was the second game in a row the lights have been an issue at Georgia Tech. A computer program for the stadium’s new light show froze up during a Nov. 28 victory over Duke, leading to a brief stoppage.

HEALTHY PANTHERS

Pittsburgh had a full complement of players for the game, announcing shortly before the kickoff that no one was out because of COVID-related protocols

The teams were initially scheduled to meet Nov. 14, but the game was postponed because of a coronavirus outbreak within the Panthers program.

UP NEXT

Pittsburgh: The regular season is over. The Panthers will now await a likely bowl invitation.

Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets have another make-up game next Saturday at No. 9 Miami. The contest was originally scheduled for Nov. 21, but COVID-19 issues led to a postponement. It will now be played the same day as the ACC championship game between No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 4 Clemson.

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