Van Dyke outduels Pickett, Miami edges No. 17 Pitt 38-34

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH – Tyler Van Dyke was buried on the Miami depth chart two months ago. The redshirt freshman tried to stay patient, repeating to himself over and over that his time would come.

Consider it here.

Brilliant at the start and gutty at the finish, Van Dyke threw for 426 yards and three touchdowns to outduel Heisman Trophy candidate Kenny Pickett as the Hurricanes edged No. 17 Pittsburgh 38-34 on Saturday.

While Pickett threw for a school-record 519 yards, Van Dyke nearly matched him while completing 32 of 42 passes for the three scores and an interception as Miami (4-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) defeated a ranked opponent for a second straight week.

“He’s a freshman, but he’s making veteran plays out there,” tight end Will Mallory said of Van Dyke.

With more than just his arm.

While Van Dyke hit Mallory for a 57-yard touchdown off a reverse flea-flicker in the first quarter, he also found himself diving at a loose ball in the final minutes after a fumble by Mallory threatened to cost Miami a first down and potentially the game.

Mallory could only watch as the ball squirted loose and went backward toward the Miami sideline. Van Dyke rushed over in an attempt to knock it out of bounds. Chaos briefly ensued before officials ruled the ball out. The Hurricanes retained possession, allowing Van Dyke to kneel down three times.

Its season on the brink of collapse and coach Manny Diaz‘s grasp on his job tenuous at best after narrow losses to Virginia and North Carolina, Miami has responded with taut victories over the Wolfpack and Panthers.

“If we continue to play with the spirit and the fight that we have (we’ll be fine),” Diaz said. “It’s hard to fix fight if we don’t have, and we have it in abundance.”

So does Pickett.

The senior continued to take over the Pitt record book. His 519 yards passing set a Pitt single-game mark on a day he also broke Hall of Famer Dan Marino’s school record for career touchdowns responsible for (now at 84) and Alex Van Pelt’s record for career total offense.

“He is that guy,” Diaz said of Pickett. “He is special.”

But not infallible. Pickett completed 39 of 55 passes and three scores but also tossed his second and third interceptions of the season. Both were costly.

The first – by Miami’s Tyrique Stevenson in the second quarter – led to a Jaylan Knighton 1-yard touchdown run that gave the Hurricanes a 31-17 halftime lead. The second – by freshman safety James Williams – came with 4:07 to play and Pitt driving for a go-ahead touchdown. Pickett threw behind star wide receiver Jordan Addison and Williams made a diving grab at the Miami 4.

Pickett, who has mounted a Heisman Trophy campaign that’s morphed from unlikely to legitimate over the last two months, blamed miscommunication on the Williams pick.

Pitt (6-2, 3-1) remains in control of its destiny in the ACC Coastal Division but any remote shot at crashing the College Football Playoff is long gone.

“Never had a lead in the game, and I thought we were going to take it in the fourth quarter and (we) fell short at the end,” Panther coach Pat Narduzzi said. “Tough one to swallow, but we will bounce back. All our goals are still in front of us. Still disappointing.”

PITT NOT SO SPECIAL

Pitt – which trailed by 14 before the game was 10 minutes old – was threatening to draw even early in the fourth quarter when it faced third-and-goal from the Miami 5.

Offensive coordinator Mark Whipple called a version of the “Pitt Special” that led to an upset of Central Florida in 2019. The trick play calls for a direct snap to a position player while Pickett goes in motion. Tight end Lucas Krull took the snap but Pickett was covered. Krull made two more reads before throwing incomplete in the back of the end zone.

The Panthers settled for a field goal instead to draw within four. They got no closer.

“Fourth-and-5 is a long one,” Narduzzi said. “We wanted to get three there and go.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Miami: Van Dyke continues to improve by the week. Save for a fourth-quarter interception that doubled as an “arm punt,” Van Dyke was every bit Pickett’s equal. The Hurricanes will need him to continue to light it up while a very young defense searches for an identity.

Pitt: If Pickett finishes the season with numbers that deserve Heisman consideration, it might be due to a defense that remains erratic. A week after handling Clemson, the Panthers gave up 492 yards and looked very much like the unit that allowed 517 yards in a home loss to Western Michigan in September.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Panthers won’t improve on the program’s highest in-season ranking since 2009 and might need a little help to stay in the polls at all.

UP NEXT

Miami: Visits Georgia Tech next Saturday.

Pitt: Travels to Duke next Saturday.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.