Savage throws 6 TDs, Pitt beats Duke 58-55 in ACC thriller

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Pittsburgh’s Tyler Boyd (23) and Manasseh Garner (82) celebrate Boyd’s touchdown against Duke during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013.  (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


by Joedy McCreary
AP Sports Writer

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Tom Savage tied an Atlantic Coast Conference record with six touchdown passes and Pittsburgh held on for a wild 58-55 win over Duke on Saturday.

Savage threw for a career-high 424 yards on 23-of-33 passing with three scoring passes to freshman Tyler Boyd.

The Panthers (2-1, 1-1) never trailed and claimed their first ACC victory despite receiving plenty of scares down the stretch from a persistent Duke team.

Jamison Crowder scored touchdowns three different ways and Brandon Connette threw for four scores and rushed for 101 yards and two more TDs, including one to bring the Blue Devils (2-2, 0-2) within three points in the final minutes.

Connette’s 4-yard scoring run with 3:17 left pulled the Blue Devils to within three. Pitt recovered the onside kick, and Tom Savage’s 15-yard pass to Kevin Weatherspoon on third-and-7 helped the Panthers run out the clock.


Tom Savage passes during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Duke in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013.  (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

“That’s what you dream for as a quarterback – third down, you can win the game with a first down and (Weatherspoon) came up with a big catch,” Savage said.

Savage tied a league record with six touchdown passes – three of them to freshman Tyler Boyd – and finished with a career-high 424 yards on 23-of-33 passing.

Duke, which allowed Georgia Tech to throw for four TDs last week, has given up a total 10 touchdown passes in conference play.

The teams combined for 1,130 total yards, and the 111 combined points were a touchdown shy of the record set last November in Georgia Tech’s 68-50 win at North Carolina.

“Basically, everybody on the offense scored,” Boyd said.

“Today was a true test, and I think it was a good indication of where we’re at,” receiver Devin Street said. “Wins and losses come a dime a dozen, but effort can’t be matched, and we had effort out there.”

Savage surpassed both of the major career highs he set for Rutgers in 2009 – or, two transfers ago – before halftime of this one while becoming the first ACC player to throw for six scores since Virginia’s Dan Ellis and Florida State’s Chris Weinke both did it on Nov. 13, 1999.

He had plenty of help from his big playmakers: Street had touchdown catches of 67 and 21 yards and finished with a career-high 166 yards receiving. Boyd scored on catches of 69, 27 and 14 yards to go along with his season-high 154 yards.

“The new sheriff in town,” Street said of Boyd.

Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at

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