Recap: Pick-6 seals wild Peach Bowl win for Michigan State over Pitt, 31-21
Michigan State didn't have Kenneth Walker.
Pitt didn't have Kenny Pickett.
But it was the Panthers who ended up in an even bigger hole after the game started, losing backup quarterback Nick Patti in the first quarter.
Still, Pitt jumped out to a 21-10 lead to open the third quarter and didn't look back until late in the fourth — when it realized Michigan State was still chopping.
Jayden Reed and Connor Heyward each caught second-half touchdown passes and Cal Haladay sealed the comeback win with a pick-6 to give the Spartans a 31-21 Peach Bowl victory.
Cal Haladay seals win for Michigan State with pick-6
Pitt takes over at its own 25, trailing by 3 with 2:51 to go.
Davis Beville is sacked for a 7-yard loss on second down.
Timeout #2 Pitt (2:24 4th)
More: Watch: Highlights from Michigan State-Pitt in the Peach BowlBeville's dump-off on third down goes for 8, and it'll be fourth-and-8. Pitt converts with an 8-yard pass to Jordan Addison. He gets it to Addison on the next play for a gain of 24 that moves Pitt into Michigan State territory at the 41-yard-line.
Beville's next two passes are for gains of 7 and 8, putting Pitt at the 26 of Michigan State. with just under a minute to go.
Beville is intercepted by Cal Haladay for a pick-6 that'll seal the game for the Spartans.
Michigan State 31, Pitt 21 (0:22 4th)
Michigan State then recovers a pooch kick to seal the win again.
FINAL: Michigan State 31, Pitt 21
Michigan State takes lead on Pitt with 2:51 left
Pitt takes over at its own 22, leading 21-16.
Michigan State forces third-and-1, and drops Vincent Davis for a loss of 2 to bring up fourth-and-3. Jayden Reed hauls in the punt with a fair catch at the 29.
Pitt 21, Michigan State 16 (5:37 4th)
Jayden Reed and Keon Coleman each come up with 11-yard catches to move Michigan State to the Pitt 46.
After two straight incompletions, Quavaris Crouch hauls in a 10-yard pass to make it first-and-10 at the 36.
The Spartans try a flea flicker, which doesn't work because there's no actual threat of a run.
Timeout #1 Pitt (3:05 4th)
Thorne hits Nailor for a 14-yard gain to the 22 of Pitt, where it'll be first-and-10. Jayden Reed goes up and over the defender for a 22-yard touchdown reception on the next play.
The Spartans convert the 2-point play with a throw to Nailor.
Michigan State 24, Pitt 21 (2:51 4th)
Michigan State cuts deficit to 21-16
Pitt takes over at its own 9, looking to put Michigan State away.
Jordan Addison rushes for 28 on the drive's first play, but Michigan State is able to come up with a third-down sack on the next set of downs, bringing the third quarter to a close.
END 3RD: Pitt 21, Michigan State 10
Michigan State takes over at its own 30 to start the fourth quarter.
Payton Thorne hits Tre Mosley for a 15-yard completion to start the drive.
Michigan State reaches Pitt territory with a 13-yard completion to Jalen Nailor, and then gets an 8-yard completion by Connor Heyward to convert a fourth-and-6.
It's first-and-10 at the 17. Two passes get it to first-and-goal at the 5, which means it's time for a Michigan State penalty.
A false start makes it first-and-goal at the 10.
Thorne finds Heyward in the end zone on third down to give Michigan State a crucial score.
The Spartans then take a false start before the 2-point conversion, and can't score from the 8-yard-line.
Pitt 21, Michigan State 16 (8:06 4th)
Michigan State 'O' can't catch up to 'D'
Pitt takes over at the 26, and doesn't get far from there. Two of the next three plays go for a loss.
The ensuing punt is fielded with a fair catch at the Spartan 36.
Pitt 21, Michigan State 10 (4:58 3rd)
Payton Thorne completes a 9-yard pass to Jalen Nailor that gets Michigan State a first down at the 50, but he's sacked on the next play. After a third-down incompletion goes for 8, Michigan State punts again.
Pitt 21, Michigan State 10 (2:11 3rd)
Michigan State can't get offense going with Pitt still within reach
Pitt takes over at the 28, leading 21-10 with 9:37 to go in the third quarter.
Davis Beville is sacked for a loss of 8 on first down, and Pitt can't overcome it. The punt is downed at Michigan State's 16.
Pitt 21, Michigan State 10 (7:29 3rd)
Michigan State's drive ends after a run and two incomplete passes.
Addison Jordan is dropped for no return on the punt at the Pitt 26.
Pitt 21, Michigan State 10 (6:40 3rd)
Michigan State turns ball over on downs in 3Q
Michigan State takes over at the 25, trailing 21-10 after the disastrous start to this half.
Jordon Simmons rushes for 10 to start the drive, and Michigan State is able to pick up a fourth-and-3 behind a rush from Connor Heyward. Michigan State gets it first-and-10 at the 40, where Payton Thorne is tagged with a late hit that gives the Spartans first-and-10 at the 25.
After another rush for loss, Michigan State is facing third-and-13: Thorne overthrows Jayden Reed. Thorne throws it up to Jalen Nailor in the end zone on fourth-and-13, incomplete. Turnover on downs.
Pitt 21, Michigan State 10 (9:37 3rd)
Pitt scores with scoop-and-score to start 3Q
Michigan State takes over at the 25 to start the second half, trailing 14-10.
Payton Thorne has Jalen Nailor wide-open down the sideline on first down, but the throw is a bit short and falls incomplete. Thorne misses Jayden Reed on second down and is sacked for a scoop-and-score on the next play that puts Pitt up by two scores.
Pitt 21, Michigan State 10 (14:40 3rd)
Michigan State stumbles again before half
Michigan State takes over at its own 25 with 0:58 left in the half and all three timeouts remaining.
Payton Thorne is sacked for a loss of 8 after a 9-yard completion, and the Spartans have decided that's enough. They let the clock run out, snapping one more run play as the first half comes to a close.
END 2ND: Pitt 14, Michigan State 10
Pitt takes 14-10 lead on Michigan State in 2Q
Pitt takes over at its own 13, unable to get anything going since Nick Patti went out with injury.
Vincent Davis rushes for 12 and Jordan Addison catches a 10-yard pass, then dashes all the way to the Michigan State 13 for a 52-yard reception that puts Pitt in the red zone for just the second time today.
Davis makes it first-and-goal at the 1 with a 12-yard run. He's then dropped for a loss of 3.
Timeout #2 Pitt (1:03 2nd)
Davis Beville tosses it up to Jared Wayne for a 4-yard touchdown that puts Pitt on top.
Pitt 14, Michigan State 10 (1:02 2nd)
Michigan State can't pull away with Pitt in disarray
Another drive, another three-and-out for Pitt. Davis Beville's second-and-third-down passes go incomplete, and Pitt's punt is downed at the Michigan State 42.
Michigan State 10, Pitt 7 (5:20 2nd)
Jordon Simmons finally gets going for Michigan State, but a false start on third-and-2 makes it third-and-7 for the Spartans. Tre Mosley hauls in a 15-yard pass to make it first-and-10 at the Pitt 40.
Jordon Simmons gets the next three carries, and nets a first down at the 29 of Pitt. Payton Thorne is intercepted on the next play.
Thorne underthrew Maliq Carr and Brandon Hill undercut the route.
Michigan State 10, Pitt 7 (2:03 2nd)
Michigan State forces 3-and-out, can't capitalize
Pitt takes over at its own 20. Davis Beville hands the ball of twice and throws a third-down incompletion.
Jayden Reed fair catches the enusing punt at the Michigan State 22.
Michigan State 10, Pitt 7 (9:51 2nd)
Tre Mosley gets the ball to the 38 with a 15-yard reception. Payton Thorne rushes for 11, but the Spartans are discombobulated from there and can't move the ball any further.
Jalen Hunt's punt is fair caught at the Pitt 11.
Michigan State 10, Pitt 7 (6:46 2nd)
Michigan State blows chance at two-score lead
Michigan State takes over at the 32.
Payton Thorne makes a 9-yard throw to Keon Coleman on third-and-5 to move the chains, and on the very next play, Thorne throws it up to Jalen Nailor, who makes a one-handed effort to haul in the 50-yard throw that puts Michigan State at the 4-yard-line.
Thorne's first-down throw to Jayden Reed is incomplete, he loses 6 after a false start, and his pass on third-and-goal from the 15 goes over his receiver's head.
Matt Coghlin misses the 33-yard field goal.
Michigan State 10, Pitt 7 (11:13 2nd)
Pitt forced to punt with new QB under center
As Pitt takes over at the 32, it does so with quarterback Nick Patti's arm in a sling. He is out after injuring himself on a touchdown run earlier in the quarter.
Michigan State forces fourth-and-1, and Davis Beville keeps the rock for a QB sneak that moves the chains. Bold move to go for it.
Pitt picks up 1 yard over its next two plays, and we'll have third-and-9 to start the third quarter.
END 1ST: Michigan State 10, Pitt 7
Beville is sacked for a loss of 9 on third down, and Jayden Reed returns the enusing punt 9 yards to Michigan State's 32.
Michigan State 10, Pitt 7 (14:01 2nd)
Michigan State takes 10-7 lead in 1Q
Michigan State takes over at its own 25. Pitt quarterback Nick Patti was just seen walking to the locker room after suffering an apparent injury on his touchdown run.
Jordon Simmons loses 3 yards, then rushes for no gain to bring up third-and-13. Jalen Nailor's 17-yard reception keeps the Spartans rolling, and Michigan State catches Pitt offsides before the next play.
It's first-and-5 at the Michigan State 44. Maliq Carr takes a screen pass on the next play for 25 yards to the Pitt 31.
A 6-yard run by Harold Joiner and 12-yard run by the quarterback Thorne puts Michigan State at the 13 with first-and-10.
A 5-yard completion is erased by a 5-yard false start penalty. It'll be third-and-8 after a 2-yard run and timeout by Pitt. A third-down holding penalty backs Michigan State up to third-and-18, and the 3-yard run by Joiner won't do the job.
Matt Coghlin's 36-yard field goal attempt is good.
Michigan State 7, Pitt 0 (2:39 1st)
Pitt gets offense rolling, ties game at 7
Pitt takes over at its own 25, trailing 7-0.
A 5-yard run and 13-yard pass gets Pitt's drive off to a nice start, as two more runs after that push Pitt to the Michigan State 44. Two more plays, and it's another first down at the 34.
Vincent Davis then picks up a third-and-1 to get Pitt to the 22, where it'll be first-and-10.
Nick Patti scrambles for a 16-yard touchdown on third-and-4 to tie the game for Pitt.
Michigan State 7, Pitt 7 (7:57 1st)
Michigan State stops Pitt, takes 7-0 lead on opening drive
Michigan State's kickoff does a hard stop inside the 5-yard-line, forcing Pitt to pick it up at the 2, where it'll start first-and-10.
A run for no gain and two incompletions get Pitt off the field quickly.
Jayden Reed returns the ensuing punt to Pitt's 29-yard-line, where Michigan State will start its opening drive.
Michigan State 0, Pitt 0 (13:56 1st)
A first-down run goes for a gain of only 1 and a second-down throw is to an unprepared Jailen Nailor, incomplete. Payton Thorne takes a shot to Jayden Reed in 1-on-1 coverage that's hauled in for a Michigan State touchdown.
Michigan State 7, Pitt 0 (13:11 1st)
The 2021 Peach Bowl will reintroduce Michigan State fans to old friends, while forcing them to miss new ones.
Former Spartans defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, now with the Pitt Panthers, looks to knock his former program off a pedestal — but will be without starting quarterback and Heisman finalist Kenny Pickett.
Heisman-contending running back Kenneth Walker III is also no-go for the Spartans, meaning that this game is ripe with opportunity for players looking to get their name out there as Michigan State's offensive attack is forced into a detour.
More: Jalen Nailor, Jarrett Horst, Simeon Barrow return for Michigan State
No. 10 Michigan State vs. No. 12 Pittsburgh
► Kickoff: 7 p.m. Thursday, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
► TV/radio: ESPN/WJR 760
► Records: Michigan State 10-2; Pittsburgh 11-2
► Series history: Michigan State leads 6-0-1
► Line: Spartans by 2.5