Pitt

Blewitt, Panthers shake up playoff picture by shocking No. 2 Clemson

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Chris Blewitt is congratulated on his winning field goal by Ryan Winslow. - GETTY

CLEMSON, S.C. — One chance.

Those are the two words Scott Orndoff and Alex Officer spoke of on the sideline, emotions teetering back and forth with each completion by Deshaun Watson and their time running out. One more chance to finish a game the way Pitt's offense had not finished this season.

Chris Blewitt — the senior kicker who had missed an extra point and whose field goal was blocked in the second quarter — wanted a second chance of his own, standing calmly on the sideline staring off into the distance.

As Avonte Maddox — the emotional leader of Pitt’s secondary — scrambled back to the line of scrimmage after allowing another completion on what could have been the decisive drive, a similar thought echoed through his head: one more chance to stop Watson and rewrite the script that had become all too familiar for his defense that was missing its most physically-gifted player, Jordan Whitehead with history in the balance.

The head coach on the other sideline — the one who had only one loss in his previous 24 games — made a decision that handed them that chance.

Though Watson, a Heisman Trophy hopeful, had already broken the ACC single-game record for passing yards, Dabo Swinney decided to run the ball on fourth-and-1 and the Panthers’ defense got the stop, allowing their offense to drive down the field to set up Blewitt's game-winning 48-yard field goal to sink previously unbeaten No. 2 Clemson, 43-42, in front of 81,048 fans at Memorial Stadium Saturday night.