D’Eriq King fired four touchdown passes and overcame two costly interceptions to lead No. 13 Miami to a 31-19 victory against visiting Pittsburgh in Atlantic Coast Conference action Saturday afternoon.
Miami (4-1, 3-1 ACC) was without star tight end Brevin Jordan (shoulder). However, Jordan’s backup, Will Mallory, caught two touchdown passes and King completed 16 of 31 passes for 222 yards.
Pitt (3-3, 2-3), which lost its third straight game, was without standout senior quarterback Kenny Pickett (ankle).
Redshirt freshman Joey Yellen started in place of Pickett. Yellen, who started one game last year for Arizona State, completed 22 of 46 passes for 277 yards and one TD. He fumbled twice and lost one.
Pitt receiver Jordan Addison caught eight passes for 147 yards, and Alex Kessman went 4-for-4 on field goals.
Miami, with the only points of the first quarter, got a 35-yard touchdown pass from King to Cam’Ron Harris. King took a step forward to simulate a running play and then dropped back and flipped the ball over Pitt’s defense.
The Hurricanes extended their lead to 14-0 on King’s 6-yard pass to Mallory, who caught the ball in the right flat and ran over a tackler. That 11-play, 45-yard drive was sparked by Pitt’s fake punt, which was foiled by an open-field tackle from Miami freshman Isaiah Dunson.
Pitt closed the first half with a pair of Kessman field goals of 33 and 24 yards.
The second field goal was set up when Panthers defensive end Deslin Alexandre deflected a King pass at the line of scrimmage. Safety Paris Ford intercepted and ran it back to Miami’s 12 as King made a touchdown-saving tackle.
Miami scored on the first drive of the second half to take a 21-6 lead as King hit a wide-open Mike Harley for a 38-yard touchdown pass.
Pitt scored 10 straight points to cut its deficit to 21-16 with 9:20 left in third. First, Yellen completed a 55-yard pass to Addison to set up a 36-yard Kessman field goal. Then, Marquis Williams intercepted a King pass and returned it to the Miami one, where Yellen tossed a TD pass to Daniel Moraga.
The third quarter ended with Miami leading 28-19 as King hit Mallory with a 45-yard TD pass, and Pitt answered with Kessman’s 30-yard field goal.
Miami extended its lead to 31-19 on Jose Borregales’ 37-yard field goal with 4:13 left, and Pitt turned it over on downs to virtually end the game.