After Rutgers beat Pittsburgh 54-34, Schiano remained undefeated against Wannstedt, and he reached that mark with an excellent offensive scheme. Despite entering the game as the worst offense in the Big East, the Scarlet Knights piled on 442 total yards in their resounding victory. Pitt had 486.
Pitt also lost quarterback Bill Stull to a neck injury during the game, and center Robb Houser as well. Pat Bostick replaced Stull with 5:59 remaining in the third quarter. Left guard C.J. Davis replaced Houser, and fifth-year senior Dom Williams moved into Davis' spot on the offensive line.
"First of all, the initial tests they did on Billy Stull, everything was fine,'' Wannstedt said. "They're going to keep him overnight for observation. He's with his parents, but everything is going to be fine. Robb Houser, on the other hand, it looks like he might have a break in his ankle. He'll get an MRI (Sunday).
"I really thought coming into this game that this was going to be a 17-10 game one way or another. (But) it was the most disappointing defensive performance that we've had since I've been here. The only thing that they did different than what I thought is that I really expected them to come out running the ball, but they came out throwing it.''
That misjudgment was crucial, however, as Rutgers fifth-year senior quarterback Mike Teel, who entered the game with just three touchdown passes, tossed six against Pitt. He was 14-for-21 for 361 yards and was intercepted once by Aaron Berry. Other than that, Berry had a rough day.
Berry was victimized constantly, as 6-foot-4, 215-pound RU wideout Kenny Britt caught five passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns. Speedy Tim Brown added four catches for 132 yards and two scores. Berry also fumbled a punt that returned the momentum to Rutgers after Pitt got within three, 34-31, with 8:58 remaining in the third quarter.
"We knew they were going to take their shots, but we just didn't make plays,'' Berry said. "I misjudged one. I should have made the play, and that's on me. I let the team down. But they did a good job. They came out and executed. They threw some good balls and made some big plays.
"I thought I was going to intercept the one play, but the ball started drifting on me. He's a big-time player who's going to make those plays, so I have to suck it up and come back next week. ... The fumble, he just stripped it out of there. We had a chance to get back in the game, and that's on me. I'm not really making too many plays to help my team, so I have to change that this week.''
The Panthers actually weren't too bad on offense. Stull completed 16 of 22 passes for 279 yards before the injury, but no touchdowns. And tailback LeSean McCoy added 146 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries. McCoy has 14 rushing touchdowns this year, the same total he had last season. He entered the game tied with Tony Dorsett for most touchdowns as a freshman and sophomore, but obviously holds that record now.
"Billy played excellent, and the wide receivers and line played good, too,'' McCoy said. "It just wasn't good enough. ... Offensively, we had a great game plan, and it worked. But it didn't work well enough.''
Bostick had a modest performance in a scaled back offense. He was 6-for-11 for 69 yards, but no touchdowns and one interception. And that pick was crucial. Pitt's defense was inspired on the series after Stull's injury, probably the only time all game, and Bostick moved the Panthers downfield thanks to an interesting call on third-and-one.
Instead of handing off to McCoy, Bostick dropped back and tossed a pass to wide-open tight end Nate Byham for 34 yards to the 26 late in the third. Two McCoy runs left Pitt with a third-and-one call again, and once again Bostick was called on to pass. He rolled left, despite being right-handed, and immediately was pressured. He was hit as he threw the ball, and Kevin Malast returned the pick 74 yards to the 8. It took RU one play to score and go up 48-31.
"It's very unfortunate, what happened to Bill,'' Bostick said, "and our thoughts and prayers are with him. ... It was a tough position to come in like that, but I always have to be ready like I said this week.
"I was disappointed with a couple plays, obviously, the interception. Maybe I should have just pulled it down, and we would have had a field goal. I had some confidence after that play to Nate, but we couldn't get it done after that.''
Going for the field goal wouldn't have guaranteed anything, either, even though fifth-year senior Conor Lee usually is automatic for Pitt. He kicked field goals from 43 and 40 yards, but he also hit the right upright into the open end and didn't even get a chance on another. After Berry's interception midway through the first quarter near midfield, Pitt drove to the 21 and had fourth-and-two.
Lee came out for the 38-yard field goal, but holder Andrew Janocko pulled up and attempted a weak pass that fell incomplete. There was pressure, nobody was open and in all it was just a bad call. Teel connected with Britt for a 79-yard touchdown pass on the ensuing play, and the Panthers were playing catch-up the rest of the way.
Notes: Pitt frosh WR Jonathan Baldwin had five catches for 81 yards, while T.J. Porter added four for 109. ... Pitt had three more sacks and has 21 in seven games. ... The attendance was 51,161.
Rutgers 54, Pitt 34
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