Pitt defeats Texas A&M 37-26

The Panthers answered a big-time gut check Saturday and walked away from the intense heat at Kyle Field with an impressive win. Pitt overcame a poor first half of play and several injuries to key players to knock off the Aggies in College Station.

Many questioned whether they could put last week's upset loss behind them, but they answered those questions with an explosive third quarter that saw them score 21 points.

The Panthers played without two starters, center Justin Belarski and running back Brandon Miree. Two other players who played at less than 100% were guard Dan LaCarte and receiver Princell Brockenbrough. Even worse was that the defense lost its two biggest stars in defensive end Claude Harriott and linebacker Lewis Moore. Starting Defensive end Thomas Smith was also injured in the game, yet the Panthers somehow overcame all the adversity that was stacked up against them. Pittsburgh was led on offense by Rod Rutherford. Rutherford struggled in the first half, missing several open receivers, but he settled down and played an excellent second half. He finished 14 of 28 for 283 yards and 5 TD's.

Superstar receiver Larry Fitzgerald put on another incredible performance and finished with 7 catches for 135 yards and 3 TD's. Fitzgerald may have pushed himself to the lead in the Heismen Trophy race with his spectacular performance.

Princell Brockenbrough also had an incredible performance when you consider he played with a badly sprained ankle. Brockenbrough had 3 catches for 100 yards and 1 TD, and came through when the Panthers most needed him.

Jawan Walker and Lousaka Polite helped lead the second half comeback by administering a punishing ground game. Both athletes broke many tackles and ran over several defenders. Walker finished with 87 yards on 20 carries. Polite added 38 yards on 9 carries. True freshman Terrell Allen added 34 yards on 2 carries.

Texas A&M, who led 13-9 at the half, was led by star QB Reggie McNeal. He finished 12 of 22 for 215 yards and 1 TD. He also rushed for 52 yards on 5 carries. Courtney Lewis led the Aggies in rushing with 105 yards on 16 carries and 1 TD. The leading Aggies receiver was Jamaar Taylor who finished with 110 yards on 6 carries with 1 TD. All three speedy athletes proved very slippery to tackle.

Pitt was led on defense by true freshman Clint Session. He finished with 17 tackles as he came in to replace injured Lewis Moore. Hard hitting safety Tez Morris finished with 11 tackles, many of the punishing variety. H.B. Blades may have made the hit of the game when he delivered a hard hit to Aggie QB Reggie McNeal, which knocked him from the game.

Pitt improved to 3-1 on the season and has a bye this week before hosting Notre Dame (1-3) at Heinz Field.

Brian Gold

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