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Pitt loses another heart-breaker

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North Carolina's Marquis Williams gained nearly 400 yards from scrimmage and accounted for four touchdowns as the Tar Heels beat Pitt 40-35, wasting a 220-yard effort by Pitt's James Conner.

CHAPEL HILL, NC - North Carolina's Marquis Williams gained nearly 400 yards from scrimmage, accounted for four touchdowns and led a last-minute scoring drive to lift the Tar Heels over Pitt 40-35 at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill on Saturday.

Pitt running back James Conner ran for 220 yards and four touchdowns, and wide receiver Tyler Boyd added 5 catches for 160 yards and a score, but it wasn't for the Panthers to overcome another poor performance by the defense.

In the last three games, all losses, the Pitt defense has allowed 147 points and 1,552 yards.

The Panthers took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on two Conner touchdowns, one from 56 yards and the other from 16.

North Carolina's Williams scored two second quarter touchdowns and Pitt's Boyd caught a 50-yard scoring strike from quarterback Chad Voytik as the Panthers led 21-13 at halftime. 

The Tar Heels scored on their first drive of the second half when Ryan Switzer caught a 63-yard TD pass from Williams to pull within 21-19, but another Conner touchdown put Pitt ahead 28-19. North Carolina answered with a 17 yard run from Charles Brunson to get back within two points at 28-26.

Williams broke loose for a 45 yard scoring run to give the Tar Heels their first lead of the day early in the fourth quarter. Pitt got the ball back with eight minutes remaining, trailing 34-28, and the Panthers moved the ball 62 yards in nine plays. Conner gave Pitt the lead with 3:33 on the clock when he scored from 22 yards out, breaking four tackles and dragging a defender into the end zone.

The Panthers defense could not defend the lead, however, and North Carolina's Williams drove the Tar Heels 75 yards in 2:48. Running back T.J. Logan scored the game-winning touchdown from a yard out with 50 seconds left.

Pitt moved the ball to midfield but Voytik fumbled with 20 seconds remaining and North Carolina was able to seal the victory.

The loss drops Pitt to 4-6 overall and 2-4 in the ACC. The Panthers must win their final two games—against Syracuse at Heinz Field next Saturday and at Miami Nov. 29—in order to become bowl eligible.

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