Pitt blew a 14-point second-half lead and lost at N.C. State, 38-31, on Saturday at Carter Finley Stadium.
The Panthers, trying to extend their best start in nine years, gave up three consecutive touchdown drives after taking a 31-17 lead on a 79-yard touchdown pass from Bill Stull to Jonathan Baldwin with 4:15 to play in the third quarter.
The Panthers allowed more than 500 total yards and dropped to 3-1 heading into next week’s Big East opener at Louisville on Friday night.
Trailing 38-31, Pitt had a chance to tie the score late in the fourth quarter when linebacker Max Gruder recovered a fumble at the Wolfpack 8-yard line with 2:45 to play in the game. But Pitt gained no yards on three plays and Stull misfired on a fourth-down pass attempt to Oderick Turner in the back of the end zone with 1:15 to play.
N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson completed 21 of 35 pass attempts for 322 yards and four touchdowns. He extended his NCAA-record streak of consecutive attempts without an interception to 364. He also rushed for 89 yards on 10 carries for the Wolfpack (3-1).
Stull completed 12 of 23 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns. Dion Lewis rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries.
Pitt led 10-0 early in the first quarter and 17-7 at halftime.
Pitt took a 31-17 lead on Stull’s 79-yard touchdown pass to Baldwin with 4:15 to play in the third quarter.
But N.C. State needed only 91 seconds to score a touchdown and cut the Pitt lead to 31-24. Taking advantage of a 40-yard kick return and a 15-yard face mask penalty on Aundre Wright, N.C. State started at the Pitt 45, and, five plays later, Wilson found Jarvis Williams behind Pitt cornerback Ricky Gary for a 33-yard touchdown pass. Pitt led 31-24 with 2:44 to play in the third quarter.
After Pitt went three-and-out, N.C. State drove 83 yards on eight plays, tying the score at 31-all on Wilson’s 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end George Bryan with 12:26 to play in the game. Wilson’s 21-yard run on fourth-and-14 from the Pitt 28 kept the drive alive.
Big plays included a 25-yard run by Wilson on the opening play of the drive, a 29-yard pass to Darrell Davis to the Pitt 24,
North Carolina State took its first lead of the game on Toney Baker’s 2-yard run with 6:28 to play to go ahead 38-31.