Pitt's pass rush to test Miami's beleaguered offensive line

Sebastian the Ibis the Miami Hurricanes mascot is seen during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium

"It's been a series of unfortunate events the last couple years", Kaaya said. "This should provide us with some good momentum going forward, to stop the bleeding".

After they limped off the field, Miami pounded the ball freely up the middle and Kaaya punched in a 1-yard touchdown run on third-and-goal. But most important to Miami were these Kaaya numbers: 13 straight completions to start the game, a career-high 32 completions in 47 attempts, no interceptions and getting sacked only once by a Pittsburgh defensive front that came in averaging 3.5 per game this season.

"Any good pass rushing team is going to get excited about that and be able to tee off on that, " Miami coach Mark Richt said.

Pittsburgh (5-4, 2-3) came into the game ranked 125 of 128 FBS teams in pass efficiency defense, and Kaaya and his receivers took full advantage.

"We're back on track now", said senior safety Rayshawn Jenkins, who had an end-zone interception in the third quarter.

UM (5-4, 2-3 ACC) got a season-best performance from junior quarterback Brad Kaaya. Quadree Henderson fumbled on the second play giving Miami the ball back deep in Pitt territory.

"Anytime you get two turnovers - we had two in the third quarter which were critical - you have a hard time winning the football game", Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said. It marked the fourth time in nine games Pitt has allowed an opposing quarterback to throw for at least 350 yards.

Kaaya's four TD passes tied a career-best, and marked the first time he had that many against an ACC opponent. In rushing, James Conner ran for 141 yards and three touchdowns in 19 carries while Peterman added 33 yards in five carries.

"I feel like I didn't make enough throws on my part", Peterman said. "I think that's his focus". It's a tough loss.

Pitt's previous two ACC losses this season were by a combined four points. The 23-point margin was Pitt's biggest loss since a 56-28 defeat against Georgia Tech on October 25, 2014.

Slow starts had been an issue for the Hurricanes during their four-game losing streak, with Miami falling behind by 10 against North Carolina and by 20 against Notre Dame.

Ten minutes later, Pitt again had a chance to claw its way back into contention with a second and goal at the Miami four, the product of a drive that had taken it 79 yards in seven plays.

The Hurricanes regained the lead on their next possession, but that wasn't the worst news for Pitt -- both starting senior defensive tackles Tyrique Jarrett and Shakir Soto were taken out by a cut block on the same play.

The lead was short lived, though, with Miami answering with a 10-play, 71-yard drive that ended when Kaaya following his offensive line into the end zone on a 1-yard run.

Miami had 178 yards on the ground against Pitt, including the back-breaking 55-yard touchdown near the end that sealed the team's fate. With the Tigers up 30-0 at halftime, it was hardly necessary, and Watson spent the final two quarters high-fiving teammates and chatting up coaches while Clemson improved to 9-0 for a second straight season.

Miami: Visits Virginia on November 12, looking for a win that would secure bowl-eligibility.

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