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Aaron Mathews Does it All for Pitt

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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As Pittsburgh upset Central Florida 35-34 on a dramatic touchdown with less than one minute to play, Aaron Mathews capped off a unique showing for the ages.

In one of college football's games of the year this past weekend was a individual performance to remember. As Pittsburgh upset Central Florida 35-34 on a dramatic touchdown with less than one minute to play, giving the Golden Knights their first loss in the regular season since 2016, Aaron Mathews capped off a unique showing for the ages.

The senior wide receiver, who starred in high school as a multi-position player, was the Panthers' do-it-all star Saturday afternoon. Mathews, with everything on the line on 4th-and-2 late in the fourth quarter, took a jet sweet and threw a game-winning 3-yard touchdown pass to quarterback Kenny Pickett on an instant classic recreation of the Philadelphia Eagles' "Philly Special" trick play from Super Bowl LII. It was a gutsy call, and with Mathews comfortble taking the handoff and throwing the football, a great play.

Run to perfection, Pickett was Nick Foles and Mathews was Trey Burton. That, for Pittsburgh's sudden star, wasn't all he was.

Mathews, pulling off a trick play to beat a national power, didn't just make the play of the game for the Panthers, he was directly involved in the upset's two signature moments. In a pivotal moment midway through the second quarter, Mathews blocked a UCF punt, deflecting an attempt which Wendell Davis promptly scooped up for an 18-yard touchdown. Long before helping to score the famed final points of the day, Mathews helped extend Pittsburgh's lead to 21-0.

Remarkably, still, there was more.

Step one in Mathews' sprint towards history was a long catch that setup the game's first score. He caught a 24-yard strike down to just outside the UCF goaline on the Panthers' opening march, with A.J. Davis rushing for a short touchdown on the very next play. Mathews touched the football three times on Saturday; Pittsburgh within mere seconds of those moments, scored touchdowns every single time.

Just to recap, Mathews caught the long pass that led directly to a statement touchdown on the Panthers' opening drive, blocked a punt which was returned for a score and threw the game-winning touchdown pass on a trick play in Pittsburgh's thrilling triumph over nationally-ranked Central Florida. He, along the way, has given the Panthers memories and momentum alike.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports