Pickett and Addison Connection Leads Pitt over Virginia to claim ACC Coastal Title

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Jackson Juzang, Staff Writer

Something that looked and felt an awful lot like Pitt’s 48-38 victory over Virginia on Saturday, when Pickett, rising star wide receiver Jordan Addison, and the 20th-ranked Panthers put to bed the idea that this is the “Same Old Pitt” for now, and maybe for good.

Pitt Wide Receiver Jordan Addison arguably had his best performance of the season, as he amassed 202 receiving yards and four touchdowns in the Panthers (9-2, 6-1 ACC) win over Virginia (6-5, 4-3 ACC). Pitt’s win over the Cavaliers put them over the edge to clinch the ACC Coastal Division title, which means they will play in the ACC Championship game in Charlotte. This is Pitt’s second Coastal Title in four years. 

Along with Addison’s phenomenal performance, the Heisman candidate also showed out in the Division clinching game. Kenny Pickett threw for 340 yards, four touchdowns, and had 26 completions out of 41 attempted passes. Pickett connected with Addison on all four of his passing touchdowns, the last a 62-yard catch-and-run with 2:10 remaining that sealed the game, a play symbolic of the inherent trust between the two that made them one of the most dynamic combinations in the country.

Although the Pickett and Addison connection was too hot to handle for the Cavaliers, they sure did put up a fight. Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong matched Pickett throw for throw, passing for 487 yards with three touchdowns and an interception after returning from an injury that forced him to sit out last week’s loss to Notre Dame. Yet every time the Cavaliers appeared ready to steal one, Pickett and Addison would respond. All four of their scoring connections came in got-to-have-it situations. Twice Pickett found Addison in the end zone on fourth down. The other two scores came on third downs with the Cavaliers threatening to get a stop and reclaim momentum.

There will be no chaos in the ACC’s Coastal Division this year. Not with Pickett rewriting the Pitt record book and Addison making a compelling case that the conversation on the best receiver in the country starts with the skinny sophomore with video game moves and understated swagger. Saturday’s game marked that a Pitt receiver came up with 200 game since Larry Fitzgerald went off for 207 yards in a 42-32 win over Rutgers on Oct. 18, 2003. It was also the first time in the last 100 years that a Pitt receiver accrued 200 yards and four touchdown receptions in a single game. Addison was named a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award last week, which is given to the most outstanding receiver in college football. With his performance on Saturday, he upped his totals to 1,272 receiving yards, 15 receiving touchdowns, and 16 total touchdowns for the season. This makes Jordan Addison the nation’s leader in touchdown receptions and the most productive receiver Pitt has had since Tyler Boyd, who had 1,261 receiving yards in 2014.  

Given Addison’s performance this year — and on Saturday, in particular — the Biletnikoff is well within his reach. With another strong performance against Syracuse in Pitt’s regular-season finale, he could set himself apart from the other nine competitors for the honor. And if he succeeds in doing so, he could go down as Pitt’s third Biletnikoff winner and its first since Fitzgerald earned the award in 2003.