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Pittsburgh Posts Upset of No. No. 21 West Virginia, 16-13

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  • Pittsburgh Posts Upset of No. No. 21 West Virginia, 16-13

    Late TD lifts Panthers

    Nov. 25, 2004

    AP Sports Writer

    Gametracker Final Statistics

    PITTSBURGH (AP) - Tyler Palko, frustrated nearly all night by West Virginia's defense, completed four third-down passes on Pittsburgh's only sustained drive before scoring from the 2 late in the game to lead a 16-13 upset Thursday of the No. 21 Mountaineers.

    Until Palko turned Darrelle Revis' interception of Rasheed Marshall's pass into Pitt's only touchdown, the sophomore quarterback had followed up a five-touchdown effort against Notre Dame with a miserable game. He finished 14-of-38 for 165 yards and an interception.

    But Palko was near perfect on the deciding 73-yard drive, hitting top receiver Greg Lee three times for 38 yards on third-down passes and tight end Erik Gill on a fourth. A pass-interference penalty on linebacker Adam Lehnortt in the end zone against Lee gave Pitt a first down at the West Virginia 2, and Palko scored on a rollout with 4:06 remaining to give Pitt its first lead.

    Until then, the Pittsburgh-raised Marshall had outplayed a Pitt quarterback for the third straight season by directing a virtual one-man offense depleted by the suspension of top receiver Chris Henry and an injury to top rusher Kay-Jay Harris. Harris was held to 11 yards on three carries.

    No doubt it will be a tough loss to West Virginia to accept, especially since Lee appeared to trap the ball on one of his third-down catches.

    Pitt's first victory over its biggest rival since 2001 effectively assured the Panthers (7-3, 4-2 in Big East) of a bowl bid - possibly to the Gator - and muddied West Virginia's bowl plans. The Mountaineers (8-3, 4-2), losing their second straight amid more special teams mistakes, now might settle for the Insight Bowl after being the front-runner for the Big East's guaranteed BCS bowl bid before its 36-17 upset loss to Boston College two weeks ago.

    Until Palko finally found his game again in the fourth quarter, it was yet another disappointing effort for Pitt in the East's second most-played major college rivalry to Army-Navy. The Panthers lost to Marshall-led West Virginia the previous two seasons despite being the higher-ranked team in both games.

    Until their decisive drive, the Panthers managed only three Josh Cummings field goals despite repeated scoring opportunities and Tim Murphy's 106 yards rushing.

    The 97th edition of the rivalry known as the Backyard Brawl was exactly that - a physical, tightly played game filled with more big plays by the defenses than the offenses and mistakes aplenty by both teams.

    West Virginia's special teams were dreadful again, just as they were in allowing two punt return touchdowns against Boston College. Brad Cooper missed two of four field goal tries before freshman Andy Good kicked a 31-yarder in the third quarter on his first attempt of the season, punter Phil Brady averaged only 29.3 yards on four punts and the Mountaineers twice drew penalties for running into Pitt punter Adam Graessle.

    Even after all that, the Mountaineers still had a chance to win it until Marshall - who ran for 104 yards and passed for 145 more - threw incomplete on fourth and 6 from the Pitt 33 with 42 seconds remaining. The play before, wide receiver Abraham Jones just missed completing a flea flicker pass into the end zone to Marshall that H.B. Blades may have tipped.

    Pitt won its fifth in five games for coach Walt Harris, whose 24-12 record over the last three seasons is the best by a Pitt coach over a three-year span since Jackie Sherrill went 33-3 from 1979-81.

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  • DJRamFan
    Florida State overcomes mistakes to down West Virginia
    by DJRamFan
    Jan. 1, 2005 wire reports
    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Florida State overcame mistake after mistake to avoid an unprecedented third straight bowl loss.

    Leon Washington ran for 195 yards and Chris Rix crafted two long second-half touchdown drives, leading No. 17 Florida State to a 30-18 victory over West Virginia in the Gator Bowl on Saturday.

    Coach Bobby Bowden, facing his former school for the first time since the 1982 Gator Bowl, moved within one bowl win of Joe Paterno's NCAA record of 19 at Penn State. The Seminoles finished 9-3.

    Rix played poorly for much in his final game of an up-and-down career. Bowden's first four-year starter at quarterback fumbled three times and threw two interceptions, one of which led to a touchdown.

    But Bowden stuck with Rix and he eventually gave the Seminoles a spark.

    Rix completed five straight passes during a 90-yard drive, capped by his 14-yard TD pass to Craphonso Thorpe late in the third quarter. Thorpe leaped for the ball over Dee McCann in the right corner of the end zone for a 23-15 lead. It was only Rix's third TD pass of the season.

    Quarterback Rasheed Marshall and West Virginia's platoon of running backs shredded the nation's top run defense for 238 yards. Kay-Jay Harris carried 25 times for 134 yards and scored twice.


    But the Mountaineers (8-4) failed to find the end zone three times after advancing inside the 20-yard line.

    West Virginia has lost 11 of its last 12 bowls games and is 0-5 in the Gator.

    West Virginia, the only unranked team playing in a New Year's Day bowl, continued special teams mistakes that were costly in losses to Boston College and Pittsburgh to end the regular season.

    In the first half, two kickers missed extra point, Brad Cooper booted a kickoff out of bounds, and the Mountaineers later faked a 27-yard field goal attempt, but couldn't convert the first-down run.

    Backup Andy Good practiced his kicks feverishly before the start of the third quarter, and it paid off. He made field goals of 44 and 34 yards to cut the deficit to 23-18 early in the fourth period.

    Rix then led an 80-yard scoring drive, capped by James Coleman's 1-yard run. Rix finished 16-of-31 for 157 yards.

    The game featured the preseason favorites of the Big East and Atlantic Coast Conference who couldn't secure BCS berths.

    The Seminoles needed only six plays to score a season-high 10 points in the first quarter.

    Washington went 69 yards down the right sideline on the game's second play for the longest TD run in Gator Bowl history. He had 135 yards by halftime and had only 12 carries for the game, or else he might have challenged the Gator Bowl record of 216 yards by Syracuse's Floyd Little against Tennessee...
    -01-01-2005, 02:55 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Boston College enjoys happy returns against West Virginia
    by DJRamFan
    Nov. 13, 2004 wire reports
    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Defense has been Boston College's strength this season. When that didn't work on Saturday, a superb performance on special teams kept the Eagles in the hunt for their first Big East championship.

    Paul Peterson threw two first-half touchdown passes and No. 21 Boston College returned two punts for scores to beat No. 13 West Virginia 36-17 Saturday.

    Boston College (7-2, 3-1 Big East) can earn a share of the conference title by beating Temple and Syracuse in its final season before moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference next year.

    "It is a huge leap for our program and school," said Boston College coach Tom O'Brien, whose team hadn't won in Morgantown since 1990.

    The Mountaineers (8-2, 4-1) squandered a chance to clinch their first BCS bid and a tie for a second straight conference title. West Virginia lost in November for the first time under fourth-year coach Rich Rodriguez. It also had 10-game conference and home winning streaks broken.

    "We had destiny in our hands today. That's what is disappointing," Rodriguez said. "We didn't play like a good team. It will probably make us sick to watch the film."

    It was supposed to be a battle between West Virginia's potent rushing attack and the Big East's top defense. Though West Virginia outgained Boston College 452-243, the contest was decided on special teams.


    DeJuan Tribble returned a first-quarter punt 41 yards for a score and Will Blackmon went 71 yards for a TD with a punt return in the fourth quarter. They were the first punt returns for scores by the Eagles in two years.

    "That was the defining factor," O'Brien said. "The two punt returns were huge. We broke some tackles and after that they were not going to catch us."

    Eagles freshman Ryan Ohliger kicked field goals of 44, 47 and 36 yards.

    Boston College quieted a capacity crowd with several long kickoff returns and pinned West Virginia deep in its own territory on many punts and kickoffs.

    The Mountaineers fumbled away the second-half kickoff, leading to an Ohliger field goal for a 27-7 lead.

    "Special teams were embarrassing," Rodriguez said. "Every time they started with the ball on offense, they had the ball past midfield. Every time we started the ball on offense, it seemed like we had to go 90 (yards)."

    West Virginia worked too methodically to mount a comeback. An 18-play drive ended with Rasheed Marshall's 6-yard scoring pass to Chris Henry at the end of the third quarter.

    That gave Henry a school-record 12 TD catches this season, breaking the mark of 11 set by Reggie Rembert in 1989.

    Henry had catches of 41 and 20...
    -11-13-2004, 05:16 PM
  • DJRamFan
    No. 19 Pittsburgh likely headed to Fiesta after rout in finale
    by DJRamFan
    Dec. 4, 2004 wire reports
    TAMPA, Fla. -- Tyler Palko threw for a career-high 411 yards and five touchdowns in three quarters Saturday, helping No. 19 Pittsburgh rout South Florida 43-14 and virtually assure the Panthers the Big East spot in the Bowl Championship Series.

    Greg Lee scored on receptions of 18, 6 and 7 yards for Pitt (8-3), while Malcolm Postell returned one of his two interceptions 15 yards for a TD that gave his team a 13-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.


    Palko completed 19 of 28 passes and finished his afternoon by throwing for two scores in the last 1:27 of the third quarter.

    Marcus Furman's 11-yard reception finished an eight-play, 93-yard drive, and Palko and 270-pound tight end Erik Gill teamed on an 80-yard TD play on the final play of the period.

    The victory was the sixth in seven games for Pitt, which hardly resembled a BCS team in stumbling to 2-2 start that included an overtime victory over Division I-AA Furman and a 12-point loss at Connecticut.

    The strong finish, however, gave the Panthers a share of the Big East title with Syracuse, Boston College and West Virginia and sets up a likely date against unbeaten Utah (11-0) in the Fiesta Bowl.

    The Panthers also avenged an embarrassing loss to South Florida (4-7), which won the only other meeting between the schools 35-26 in just their second game as a Division I-A program three years ago.

    Some Pitt players said that game provided extra motivation this time.

    South Florida, which finished its final season as a member of Conference USA with a three-game losing streak, will move to the Big East next year and found out how difficult that transition could be.

    Although the Bulls had plenty of success moving the ball, Pat Julmiste was intercepted twice and Pitt also forced two fumbles to stop scoring threats. The Panthers also stopped another march inside their 20 on downs.

    Julmiste scored South Florida's first touchdown on a trick play, catching a 16-yard TD pass from Andre Hall after the 1,300-yard rusher took a pitchout and faked a handoff to receiver S.J. Green on an end-around.

    Clenton Crossley also scored on a 1-yard run for the Bulls.

    Lee finished with eight receptions for 153 yards, giving him 61 catches for 1,204 yards and nine touchdowns this season. The 300-yard performance by Palko was the sophomore's fifth of the year.

    The last time Pitt won at least eight games three consecutive seasons was 1981-83. The Panthers are headed to a bowl for the fifth straight year, but haven't played on New Year's Day or later since concluding the 1983 season in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State.

    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The...
    -12-04-2004, 01:59 PM
  • DJRamFan
    UConn Edges Scarlet Knights In Shootout
    by DJRamFan
    Cornell Brockington's three-TD performance led the Huskies

    Nov. 25, 2004

    AP Sports Writer

    PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) - Dan Orlovsky threw three touchdowns and Connecticut strengthened its postseason bowl credentials with a wild 41-35 victory over Rutgers on Thursday.

    Tight end Dan Murray caught touchdown passes of 32 and 3 yards and halfback Cornell Brockington ran for two more and caught another scoring pass for the Huskies (7-4, 3-3 Big East).

    Chris Bellamy also scored on 2-yard run as Connecticut won its second straight and sent Rutgers (4-7, 1-5) to its fifth straight loss in a season that began with hopes of a first bowl bid since 1978.

    Connecticut now finds itself in good position to go to a bowl in only its third season with a full complement of scholarship players.

    The Big East is in the BCS mix and it has agreements with the Gator Bowl, the Continental Tire Bowl and the Insight Bowl.

    Tres Moses capped a record season at Rutgers, scoring on touchdown passes of 87 and 16 yards. He finished with seven catches for 168 yards.

    Brian Leonard ran for a touchdown and Willie Foster made the game interesting with an 80-yard kickoff return for a score with 2:14 to play.

    The touchdown that closed the gap to 41-35 came just 14 seconds after Orlovsky seemingly sealed the game with a 3-yard TD pass to Murray.

    A 32-yard TD pass to Murray late in the third quarter had snapped a 28-28 tie and given the Huskies the lead for good.

    Connecticut outgained 489 yards to 454 with Orlovsky finishing 19-of-30 for 264 yards and two interceptions.

    Rutgers quarterback Ryan Hart was 26-of-33 for 279 yards and two TDs, including a 13-yarder to Marcus Daniels that tied the game at 21 just before halftime.

    Scarlet Knights backup quarterback Terrence Shawell threw the 87-yard scoring pass to Moses, who set school records for catches (81) and yards (1,056).

    Before a shoulder injury sidelined him for the second half, Brockington staked Connecticut to a 21-7 lead by scoring on runs of 1 and 5 yards and taking a 16-yard screen pass for another tally.

    The score seemed to put Rutgers on the ropes, but Moses resurrected the Scarlet Knights' hopes by hauling in a pass by Shawell and scoring on an 87-yard pass play to cut the lead to 21-14 just 31 seconds after Brockington's catch.

    An interception by cornerback Joe Porter gave Rutgers the ball back at its 41 with 2:33 to play in the half. A 26-yard third-down scramble by Shawell, who was hurt on the play, set up Hart's TD pass to Daniels.
    -11-26-2004, 08:13 AM
  • DJRamFan
    I-AA Wrapup: Shakedown Saturday
    by DJRamFan
    Changes in the elite are emerging

    Oct. 3, 2004

    By David Coulson, Senior Columnist,
    Special to from

    As a youngster, I used to watch reruns of Star Trek every day after school. And I always wondered what it would be like to have Scotty's transporter in my house.

    Just think about how cool it would be to quickly beam yourself from one place to another.

    I could have used that device on Saturday to keep track of some great matchups in I-AA football -- matchups that will have obvious repercussions on the NCAA playoffs in the next month and a half.

    I would have started my journey by beaming to Tubby Raymond Field for the Delaware-Maine showdown in the Atlantic 10. As it was, I had to settle for watching the No. 4 Blue Hens and No. 8 Black Bears play a instant classic on my trusty, though less flashy VCR.

    This was a game that many thought would be a defensive struggle, but instead the two teams combined for 81 points and 954 yards of total offense.

    Delaware, which had showed almost no offensive consistency this season, jumped to a 20-0 lead early in the second quarter and had beaten its best scoring output of the season by the middle of the second period with a 27-7 advantage.

    Maine, which usually likes to control the ball on the ground behind big, senior tailback Marcus Williams, was forced to almost completely abandon its rushing attack and came charging back behind the arm of sophomore quarterback Ron Whitcomb.

    Whitcomb completed 22-of-40 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns, two of the scoring aerials to Christian Pereira (nine catches for 143 yards).

    When Whitcomb connected with Pereira on a 10-yard scoring strike early in the fourth quarter, the Black Bears pulled within 37-35 and Mike Mellow's 21-yard field goal finally gave Maine the lead with 7:12 to play, 38-37.

    But Saturday was the day that Delaware quarterback Sonny Riccio finally arrived. Much was expected when Riccio transferred last spring from Missouri to fill the void left by the graduation loss of I-AA.Org offensive player of the year Andy Hall.

    Riccio struggled in his first three games as a Blue Hen, games that included a loss to New Hampshire and two unimpressive wins over Towson and Division II West Chester.

    But Riccio hit 33-of-51 passes for 415 yards and a 28-yard touchdown and added a 12-yard scoring run against Maine. And he led Delaware on a clutch drive that resulted in a last-minute, game-winning touchdown.

    As soon as the gun sounded in Newark, Del., I would have been ready to say: "Scotty, beam me to Carbondale, Ill. for the Southern Illinois-Northern Iowa showdown."

    It looked for a half like it would be another week for the curse...
    -10-04-2004, 11:58 AM