PITTSBURGH — Miami spent the better part of 13 months putting together the nation’s longest winning streak behind a series of comebacks that returned the swagger to “The U” in all of its “Turnover Chain” glory.
Sluggish throughout the first half Friday against Pittsburgh, the Hurricanes figured they would come out for the third quarter, hit the gas and survive just the way they have done time and again during their rebirth under second-year coach Mark Richt.
Instead, Miami’s perfect season is over. The second-ranked Hurricanes can only hope their shot at a College Football Playoff berth isn’t gone, too.
Freshman quarterback Kenny Pickett ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as the Panthers (5-7, 3-5 Atlantic Coast) pulled out a decisive 24-14 stunner that sent Miami (10-1, 7-1) reeling into next week’s league title showdown with Clemson, the defending national champion.
“I still think there’s an awful lot to play for,” Miami Coach Mark Richt said. “We have no idea what’s going to happen in the big picture. How many teams lost a game on a Friday and came back and got in the top four? How many teams lost one game and won a conference championship, and got right back in it? Who knows? So we don’t know.”
(10) TEXAS CHRISTIAN 45, BAYLOR 22: Kenny Hill threw touchdowns to three receivers and ran three yards for another score as TCU (10-2, 7-2) clinched a spot in the Big 12 championship game by beating Baylor (1-11, 1-8) at Fort Worth, Texas.
The Horned Frogs will play No. 3 Oklahoma for the Big 12 title Dec. 2. That will come three weeks after TCU’s 38-20 loss to the Sooners.
Baylor jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first two minutes, including a safety when Hill was sacked and fumbled in the end zone. But TCU was ahead for good after Hill’s 7-yard TD pass to Jarrison Stewart made it 14-9 with 26 seconds left in the first quarter.
Defensive end Mat Boesen set a TCU single-game record by recording 51/2 of the eight sacks by the Horned Frogs.
• Coach Gary Patterson said he’s signed a new contract with TCU. The deal is, in general, a two-year extension through 2023.
(12) CENTRAL FLORIDA 49, (19) SOUTH FLORIDA 42: Mike Hughes 95-yard kickoff return with 1:28 remaining was the difference as Central Florida (11-0, 8-0 American Athletic) completed the first unbeaten regular season in program history with a wild victory against South Florida (9-2, 6-2) at Orlando, Florida.
The Knights will be home against Memphis in the conference title game Dec. 2.
Hughes’ touchdown capped a wild 53-second span where the Knights took an eight-point lead, South Florida tied it, then the Knights took the lead for good.
The Bulls made it 42-42 when Quinton Flowers connected with Darnel Salomon for an 83-yard touchdown, then found D’Ernest Johnson for a 2-point conversion. Flowers finished with 605 yards of total offense.
ARKANSAS: Coach Bret Bielema was fired after five disappointing season, moments after a season-ending 48-45 loss to Missouri.
The loss left Arkansas with a 4-8 record, capping only the second losing season of Bielema’s 12-year career. It also left him with a 29-34 record in his five seasons with the Razorbacks, including 11-29 in the SEC.
FLORIDA: Chip Kelly likely won’t become the school’s next coach, ending a two-week saga that included a meeting last Sunday in New Hampshire between school officials and the biggest name on the job market.
An Orlando Sentinel source confirmed a report by Yahoo! Sports that Kelly is out of the picture for the Gators. Florida officials couldn’t be reached for comment.
CLEMSON: Starting linebacker Tre Lamar will miss the Tigers’ regular-season finale with South Carolina on Saturday night with a back injury.