Notre Dame trails Pittsburgh 12-7 entering the final quarter thanks to a special teams miscue.
A Notre Dame mistake finally cost the Irish a touchdown in the third quarter.
After stopping Pittsburgh to start the second half, Austin Collinsworth was flagged for roughing the kicker, giving the Panthers new life.
Pitt didn't waste it, marching 80 yards on 19 plays to a touchdown that took 8:24 off the clock.
The Panthers then went for an odd 2-point conversion that failed and left them with a 12-7 lead with 6:36 to play in the third quarter.