Pittsburgh’s Chris Blewitt nailed a 48-yard game-winning field goal with six seconds left in the game as the Panthers upset No. 2 Clemson 43-42 to knock the Tigers out of the ranks of college football’s undefeated teams. The win earned Pittsburgh the United States Sports Academy’s College Football Game of the Week honor.
Clemson led 28-27 at the half and built a 42-34 lead by the end of the third quarter. Pittsburgh outscored Clemson 9-0 in the fourth quarter to pull off one of the biggest upsets of the college football season.
While Clemson’s Heisman Trophy contending quarterback Deshaun Watson threw for an Atlantic Coast Conference record 580 yards and three touchdowns, the Panthers also intercepted Watson three times. The third interception, caught by Pittsburgh’s Saleem Brightwell, led to a 20-yard touchdown run from James Conner that pulled the Panthers within two points of Clemson at 42-40 with five minutes left in the game.
After Conner’s touchdown, the Panthers stopped Clemson’s next drive on fourth-and-one with less than one minute to play. The Panthers drove 34 yards in six plays to set up Blewitt’s winning field goal.
Clemson (9-1) had won 21 consecutive home games and 46 straight against unranked opponents before falling to Pittsburgh (6-4).
A blue ribbon panel of 17 members consisting of former college football coaches and athletic directors and including Academy faculty selects the weekly winner of the Academy’s College Football Game of the Week Award by ballot. The committee is chaired by former U.S. Naval Academy athletic director Jack Lengyel. At the conclusion of the college football season, the panel selects the Academy’s College Football Game of the Year.
The College Football Game of the Year Award is part of the Academy’s Awards of Sport series, a function of the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA), which was established as “a tribute to the artist and the athlete.”
Each year at the conclusion of the college football season painter Daniel Moore, the ASAMA 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy to render a painting depicting a memorable and pivotal moment to commemorate the selected College Football Game of the Year. In addition, the Academy contributes $5,000 to the winning university’s scholarship fund.
Fans are encouraged to follow the Academy’s Game of the Year process and compare their selected games of the week to the committee’s selection.
Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu .
Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of nearly 2,000 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to www.asama.org.
By Eric Mann