GAMEDAY College Football

Peach Bowl: Michigan State 31, Pittsburgh 21

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

By CHARLES ODUM
AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA - Payton Thorne's 22-yard touchdown pass to Jayden Reed gave No. 11 Michigan State the lead with less than three minutes remaining and the Spartans overcame an 11-point deficit to beat No. 13 Pittsburgh 31-21 in the Peach Bowl.

Linebacker Cal Haladay's 78-yard interception return for a touchdown with 22 seconds remaining ended Pitt fill-in quarterback Davis Beville's bid for a last-minute comeback in the game the Panthers played without start QB Kenny Pickett.

Thorne threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes as Michigan State (11-2) rallied after trailing 21-10.

Cam Bright returned a fumble recovery 26 yards for a touchdown only 20 seconds into the second half for Pittsburgh (11-3). The Panthers lost fill-in starting quarterback Nick Patti to an injury in the first quarter.

Defensive end John Morgan forced the fumble by Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne that was returned by Bright for a 21-10 lead.

It was the second big play by Pitt's defense. Brandon Hill's interception late in the first half set up an 87-yard touchdown drive for a 14-10 lead.

Thorne's 15-yard scoring pass to tight end Connor Heyward cut the Panthers' lead to 21-16 with 8:06 remaining. The Spartans were stopped on their 2-point play, with Heyward kept out of the end zone on another reception.

Thorne completed 29 of 50 passes for 354 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Thorne's scoring pass to Reed with 2:51 remaining gave the Spartans a 22-21 lead. A 2-point pass to Jalen Nailor pushed the lead to three points.

With Pickett, who opted out of the game after finishing third in the Heisman Trophy voting, watching from a coach's box, the Panthers' transition at quarterback quickly took on added drama.

Making his first start since 2019, Patti was knocked out of the game in the first quarter.

On third down from the Michigan State 16 on the Panthers' second possession, Patti dropped back before taking off on a run and diving for the end zone, reaching out for the touchdown before landing hand on his left shoulder.

Patti grabbed his shoulder after rising to his feet and was escorted to the Pitt locker room. When he returned later in the first half, he was not wearing shoulder pads and his left arm was in a sling.

Beville, a sophomore who threw only four passes and played in only two games in the regular season, took over for Patti and completed 14 of 18 passes for 149 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Brandon Hill's interception of Thorne's pass for Maliq Carr gave Pitt the ball at its 13, setting up the 87-yard touchdown drive.

Beville completed passes of 10 and 52 yards to Jordan Addison, the Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation's top wide receiver, against Michigan State's pass defense, which ranked last in the nation. Beville's 5-yard touchdown pass to Jared Wayne gave the Panthers a 14-10 halftime lead.

Addison had seven catches for 114 yards.


Scoring Summary
First Quarter PittMSU
MSU TD 13:11 Jayden Reed 28 yard TD pass from Payton Thorne (Matt Coghlin Extra Point) 0 7
Pitt TD 7:57 Nick Patti 16 yard TD run (Sam Scarton Extra Point) 7 7
MSU FG 2:39 Matt Coghlin 36 yard field goal 7 10
Second Quarter PittMSU
Pitt TD 1:02 Jared Wayne 4 yard TD pass from Davis Beville (Sam Scarton Extra Point) 14 10
Third Quarter PittMSU
Pitt TD 14:40 Cam Bright 26 yard fumble return for TD (Sam Scarton Extra Point) 21 10
Fourth Quarter PittMSU
MSU TD 8:06 Connor Heyward 15 yard TD pass from Payton Thorne (Connor Heyward 2pt conversion attempt is NO GOOD) 21 16
MSU TD 2:51 Jayden Reed 22 yard TD pass from Payton Thorne (Jalen Nailor 2pt conversion attempt is GOOD) 21 24
MSU TD 0:22 Cal Haladay 78 yard interception return for TD (Matt Coghlin Extra Point) 21 31
Team Stats
  Pittsburgh Michigan State
First downs 14 28
  Rushing 8 7
  Passing 6 18
  Penalty 0 3
3rd Down Efficiency 2-12, 17% 10-21, 48%
4th down efficiency 2-2, 100% 3-4, 75%
Rushes-Yards 32-104 36-56
Passing Yards 170 354
Return Yards 37 119
Completions-Attempts-Int 16-23-1 29-50-1
Sacks-Yards Lost 5-39 3-24
Punts 8 3
Fumbles Lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties - Yards 4-30 6-35
Pittsburgh Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
D. Beville 14 18 149 1 1
N. Patti 2 5 21 0 0
Michigan State Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
P. Thorne 29 50 354 3 1
Pittsburgh Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
V. Davis 12 43 3.6 0
J. Addison 1 28 28.0 0
N. Patti 3 27 9.0 1
R. Hammond Jr. 4 20 5.0 0
I. Abanikanda 5 16 3.2 0
D. Beville 7 -30 -4.3 0
Michigan State Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
J. Simmons 16 23 1.4 0
E. Collins 6 15 2.5 0
H. Joiner 2 8 4.0 0
C. Heyward 1 7 7.0 0
P. Thorne 10 4 0.4 0
Pittsburgh Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
J. Addison 7 114 16.3 0
V. Davis 3 16 5.3 0
M. Stovall 2 14 7.0 0
G. Bartholomew 1 9 9.0 0
L. Krull 1 8 8.0 0
S. Jacques-Louis 1 5 5.0 0
J. Wayne 1 4 4.0 1
Michigan State Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
J. Nailor 6 108 18.0 0
J. Reed 6 80 13.3 2
T. Mosley 5 58 11.6 0
C. Heyward 5 37 7.4 1
M. Carr 2 35 17.5 0
K. Coleman 2 20 10.0 0
H. Joiner 2 11 5.5 0
J. Simmons 1 5 5.0 0
Pittsburgh Interceptions
Player Int Yards
B. Hill 1 0
Michigan State Interceptions
Player Int Yards
C. Haladay 1 78
Pittsburgh Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
K. Christodoulou 8 345 43.1
Michigan State Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
B. Baringer 3 138 46.0
Pittsburgh Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
J. Addison 1 0 0
Michigan State Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
J. Reed 2 25 12.5
Pittsburgh Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
I. Abanikanda 2 24 12.0
V. Davis 1 13 13.0
Michigan State Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
J. White 1 0 0
J. Nailor 1 16 16.0
Pittsburgh Missed FG
Player Length
Michigan State Missed FG
Player Length
M. Coghlin 33




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