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Unlike the 2021 Peach Bowl, Kenny Pickett’s last college football game won’t soon be forgotten. On Thursday, Pitt’s Heisman trophy-finalist quarterback put an end to any questions surrounding his status for the Panthers’ bowl game by announcing that he’s skipping the Peach Bowl in order to begin preparations for his pro career.
“With love and gratitude, I have decided to forgo the Peach Bowl and begin training for the 2022 NFL Draft,” Pickett said via tweet.
— Kenny Pickett (@kennypickett10) December 17, 2021
By opting out of the game between No. 12 Pitt and No. 10 Michigan State, Pickett ensures that he’ll leave the University of Pittsburgh having literally changed the game.
In what turned out to be his final college game, the 23-year-old pulled off a never-before-seen move which resulted in both a touchdown and a rule change. During the first quarter of the ACC Championship Game versus Wake Forest, Pickett scrambled towards a first down and momentarily appeared to give himself up by sliding. However, he actually faked the slide, froze the defense, then found pay dirt.
Pickett’s mock slide dominated the sports news cycle for nearly a week with opinions varying as to whether Pickett’s move should be commended or condemned. The NCAA quickly responded by instituting a new rule, effective immediately, that bans fake slides by quarterbacks. Any future instances will result in a non-reviewable penalty.
Due in no small part to the momentum of their QB, Pitt more than doubled up Wake that day.
“One of the best moments of my football career was standing on stage with (coach Pat Narduzzi), the team, and our ACC Championship trophy,” added Pickett.
Pickett, a fifth-year senior, skipping the December 30th Peach Bowl means he’ll finish his Panthers career with 12,303 yards, 81 touchdown passes, 20 rushing, a receiving touchdown and one unforgettable, rule-changing score in his final college game.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF