Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett’s season for the ages continued when it mattered most, and in highlight-reel fashion, as the Heisman Trophy contender pulled off a fake slide en route to a 58-yard rushing touchdown against Wake Forest in the opening drive of Saturday’s ACC Championship Game.
On the fifth play from scrimmage, Pickett evaded a pass rusher in the backfield and took off down the field for around a 20-yard gain. Wake Forest defenders began to converge on Pickett once he passed their 40-yard line, but the redshirt senior faked a slide to get the secondary players off balance, clearing the way for his untouched 58-yard score.
Pickett’s 58-yard run has historical significance in more ways than one. It’s 28 yards more than the previous longest rush of his career and a yard more than his single-game season-high in rushing.
That wasn’t the only history Pickett made on the night, either. Later in the first quarter, he threw a 22-yard score to running back Rodney Hammond Jr. for his 80th career passing touchdown. That surpassed Dan Marino’s 79 for the most in program history.
While Pickett hasn’t been as dominant a rusher as the highlight would indicate, he’s been one of college football‘s best passers. The New Jersey native came into Saturday’s game tied with Alabama’s Bryce Young for the second-most passing touchdowns by an FBS player with 40. Pickett also ranked fifth in passing yards with 4,066.
Pickett, who’s currently ranked 15th in CBS Sports’ prospect rankings and second behind Ole Miss‘ Matt Corral among quarterbacks, is attempting to lead Pitt to its first ever ACC championship. The Panthers have already won double-digit games for the first time since 2009 with Pickett under center.