Late Pitt rally not enough as Miami finishes regular season strong


Miami closed a rocky regular season in style on Black Friday, jumping on Pitt from the get-go and winning its second straight game, 29-24.

The Hurricanes' defense turned in another strong performance, as they handed the Panthers their third home loss of the year. Interestingly enough, the road team now has won the three meetings between these Coastal division programs since Pitt began ACC play in 2013.

Here's how things went down at Heinz Field:

What the win means for Miami: The Hurricanes turned in arguably their most impressive performance under interim coach Larry Scott, jumping out to an early 20-0 lead to gain control from the start. Miami finished the regular season 8-4, 5-3 in ACC play. And the Canes improved to 4-1 under Scott. All things considered, this season turned out much better than anyone had reason to believe it would after a 58-0 loss to Clemson that marked the end of the Al Golden regime.

What the loss means for Pitt: The Panthers surpassed preseason expectations in Year 1 of the Pat Narduzzi era, especially with reigning ACC player of the year James Conner going down for the season in Week 1. That said, Pitt put forth arguably its least impressive showing Friday, as the Canes were in control from the beginning. Pitt broke its four-year run of 6-6 regular seasons this year by finishing 8-4, 6-2 in league play. Its three previous losses, though, were all to undefeated or one-loss teams (Iowa, North Carolina, Notre Dame). Pitt probably could have played itself into a top-25 ranking by finishing 9-3, but that will likely not be the case after its loss to Miami.

Player of the game: Brad Kaaya has somewhat flown under the radar this year, but the sophomore has turned in yet another strong season. He finished Friday 21 of 35 for 261 yards with one touchdown passing and one touchdown running.

Unsung hero: Miami kicker Michael Badgley went 5-for-5 on the day, capping what has been a strong 2015 for him. His five made field goals tied a school single-game record.