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Navy tops Pitt, 48-45, in 2OT

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Facing a fourth-and-goal at the 2, Pat Bostick dropped back and lofted a fade pass to tight end Darrell Strong in the right corner of the end zone.

Navy cornerback Rashawn King tipped the pass away to give the Midshipmen a 48-45 double-overtime victory over Pitt Wednesday night before 30,103 at Heinz Field and an ESPN national television audience.

It was Pitt’s first overtime game since losing at Connecticut, 46-45, in double overtime last November. That game ended on Huskies quarterback D.J. Hernandez’s two-point conversion run.

Pitt drops to 2-4.

Navy (4-2) got the winning points on a 29-yard Joey Bullen field goal in the second overtime. The Panthers used a 16-yard pass from Bostick to Marcel Pestano and runs of 6 and 1 yards by freshman tailback LeSean McCoy to set up a third-and-goal at the 2. McCoy drew an illegal motion flag on the pass play, but Navy declined the penalty to set up a fourth-and-goal.

Navy won the coin toss in the first overtime and elected to defer. Pitt came up short on a third-and-seven and settled for a 35-yard Conor Lee field goal. But Navy defensive tackle Nate Frazier was called offsides, giving the Panthers an automatic first down at the 13. Three plays later, Pat Bostick scored on a 1-yard run for a 45-38 lead.

Navy needed only one play, a 25-yard pass from Kaipo-Noa Keheaku-Enhada to Reggie Campbell, who beat safety Mike Phillips on a flag route to tie it at 45-45.

Navy came into the game averaging a nation-leading 348.4 yards rushing, but gained 331 on 70 attempts in regulation. The Midshipmen, however, passed for 166 yards and had 497 total yards to Pitt’s 418.

Pitt found the offensive balance it was looking for, as McCoy rushed for 165 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries and Bostick completed 20 of 27 passes for 191 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Navy had converted 75 percent of its fourth-down attempts, but its fake punt on fourth-and-3 at its own 43 backfired when Pitt linebacker Scott McKillop tackled punter Greg Veteto a yard short of the first-down marker.

Pitt took advantage of the field position, scoring in six plays on a 21-yard McCoy touchdown for a 38-35 lead with 10:45 remaining in the game.

Navy elected not to go for it on a fourth-and-3 at Pitt’s 19, settling instead for Bullen’s game-tying 36-yard field goal to make it 38-38 with 4:57 remaining.

Bullen’s 48-yard field-goal attempt with two seconds remaining in regulation fell short of the goal post, forcing overtime. Bullen also missed a 35-yarder with three seconds remaining in the first half.

Navy needed only five plays to cover 77 yards and score on its first possession, starting with a 49-yard pass from Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada to O.J. Washington and finishing with a 4-yard touchdown run by Reggie Campbell for a 7-0 lead with 9:02 left in the first quarter.

Pitt answered with a 13-play, 75-yard scoring drive highlighted by McCoy’s 13-yard run on fourth-and-1 at Pitt’s 46. A 14-yard pass to tight end Nate Byham, who bounced off Navy rover Jesse Iwuji, set up fullback Conredge Collins’ 2-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7-7 with 3:14 remaining in the first quarter.

The Midshipmen took a 14-7 lead with 13:05 remaining in the half on Kaheaku-Enhada’s 10-yard scoring pass to Reggie Campbell to cap a 12-play, 61-yard scoring drive that included a fourth-and-2 conversion by Shun White at Pitt’s 11.

Pitt got a boost with a 45-yard kickoff return by LaRod Stephens-Howling to spark a nine-play, 44-yard scoring drive. The Panthers converted a fourth-and-2 then used a pair of LeSean McCoy 12-yard runs to set up his 2-yard scoring run. Lee broke a 32-year-old school record by making his 61st consecutive point-after kick conversion to tie it at 14-14, topping the mark set by Carson Long from 1974-75.

Navy took a 21-14 lead after a 10-play, 65-yard scoring drive capped by fullback Adam Ballard’s 2-yard run with 5:06 remaining in the first half.

But Bostick completed 5 of 5 psases for 64 yards on the ensuing drive, connecting on passes of 15 yards to tight end John Pelusi, 14 yards to receiver Oderick Turner, 3 yards to Strong, 27 yards to Turner and a 5-yard scoring pass on a corner fade to Turner to tie it at 21-21 with 40 seconds left.

Bullen’s 35-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide left with three seconds remaining, as Pitt and Navy took a 21-21 tie into halftime.

The Panthers took a 28-21 lead – their first since the Grambling State game on Sept. 8 – with a 54-yard scoring drive that almost ended on a turnover. McCoy ran 21 yards on an inside handoff, but fumbled at the Navy 2. The on-field ruling was that the ball hit the pylon – an automatic touchback – but a review showed that it hit the leg of Navy cornerback Blake Carter before bouncing out of bounds.

Two plays later, McCoy scored on a 2-yard run.

Navy, however, returned the ensuing kickoff to Pitt’s 33. The Midshipmen tied the game at 28-28 after Shun White’s 1-yard run with 6:54 left in the third quarter.

Lowell Robinson’s 45-yard kickoff return gave Pitt the ball at Navy’s 45, but the Panthers settled for a 23-yard Conor Lee field goal and a 31-28 lead with 4:57 left in the third.

Navy regained the lead with a 10-play, 75-yard drive capped by Keahaku-Enhada’s 3-yard run for a 35-31 lead with 19 seconds left in the third quarter.

Navy had converted 75 percent of its fourth-down attempts, but its fake punt on fourth-and-3 at its own 43 backfired when Pitt linebacker Scott McKillop tackled punter Greg Veteto a yard short of the first-down marker.

Pitt took advantage of the field position, scoring in six plays on a 21-yard McCoy touchdown for a 38-35 lead with 10:45 remaining in the game.

Navy elected not to go for it on a fourth-and-3 at Pitt’s 19, settling instead for Bullen’s game-tying 36-yard field goal to make it 38-38 with 4:57 remaining.

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