Pitt defeats Boston College 24-13

The Panthers (6-2, 3-0) moved into first place in the Big East as they are the only team without a conference loss. They used another strong defensive performance and two record-setting individual performances on offense to win at a place they haven't won at in 14 years. Larry Fitzgerald set the all-time NCAA consecutive game TD receiving record at 14. Jawan Walker became the first Pitt player in history to score by run, pass and reception.

The Panthers overcame two missed field goals and poor field position most of the day, fighting back with an impressive 4th quarter performance. They were down 13-10 when Jawan Walker took over the game. He caught a short pass from Rod Rutherford and, with some key blocks downfield, blew by the defense for a 47-yard TD run. To put the game away, and to be a part of an NCAA record, Walker threw a 3- yard halfback pass to Larry Fitzgerald to put the game out of reach.

Rod Rutherford had another outstanding game as he finished 24 of 37 for 329 yards and 1 TD. Rutherford used the short passing game to perfection and never forced anything the entire game, picking apart the BC defense by throwing in the flats to Walker, fullback Lousaka Polite and tailbackTim Murphy. He also went deep and hit Fitzgerald when the defense left him open. Fitzgerald had his normal great outing with 7 catches for 156 yards and 1 TD. Not only did he have another great game receiving, but Fitzgerald also threw several key blocks, including one on both Walker's TD catch and run.

The Panthers also got a solid performance in the running game with a three-headed attack. Walker rushed for 36 yards on 9 carries, Murphy rushed for 35 yards on 10 carries and Polite rushed for 19 yards on 8 carries. Those three also came up big in a newly found short passing game that BC didn't have any answers for all day long. Polite had 6 catches for 63 yards, Murphy had 3 catches for 39 yards and Walker had 3 catches for 54 yards. The BC defense played a deep zone for most of the game to keep from getting beat deep by Fitzgerald, so the Panthers attacked underneath with success.

The Panthers defense had another complete game and came up big all 4 quarters. That's two games in a row for them. The secondary played excellent coverage as BC quarterback Quinton Porter finished only 12 of 29 for 186 yards and no TD's. Derrick Knight led the BC offense with 119 yards on 19 carries, but the Panthers defense contained him and kept him out of the end-zone. Linebacker Brian Bennett had another strong game with Dan Stephens and Vince Crochunis both having strong performances up front against a very good BC offensive line.

Next up for the Panthers is a Virginia Tech team that blew out Miami Saturday night 31-7. The game is set for 7:45pm Saturday at Heinz Field. Virginia Tech is ranked #5 in the country this week.

Brian Gold
PittInsiders.com


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