The Mountaineers appeared to be headed for at least a tie and overtime on their next drive. After two questionable running play calls, and an incompletion, Marshall hit Joe Hunter for 16 yards on fourth and six from the WVU 30 to give the Mountaineers new life at the 46 yard line. Marshall then threw incomplete to Eddie Jackson (2 catches, 37 yards) on first down. After hitting Harris for four yards on second down, Marshall was stopped after a four-yard gain on third and six, but Pitt was called for being offsides, its first penalty of the second half, and WVU had third and one from the Pitt 45.
Marshall scrambled off the left side for eight yards and the Mountaineers had another first down at the Pitt 37. Marshall then ran two times for a total of five yards, and West Virginia faced third and five from the Pitt 32 with 1:06 remaining in the game. Rodriguez called a double reverse, and Dwayne Thompson pulled up and threw to Marshall at the goal line. H.B. Blades got a hand in on the pass, and the ball fell incomplete. The Mountaineers were down to their last chance. This time WVU was not up to the task as Marshall threw to a well covered Hunter. The pass fell incomplete, and the game was over.
West Virginia was unwilling to try a game tying field goal because Brad Cooper had missed badly in the second quarter on a 45-yard attempt, and then had a short attempt blocked as time ran out in the second quarter.
West Virginia jumped out first on an 80-yard drive led by Rasheed Marshall on the third drive of the ballgame. Marshall began the drive with a 15-yard toss to Hikee Johnson, the first catch of his career that moved the ball to the WVU 35. Two plays later Marshall bolted off the left side for 19 yards to the Pitt 38 yard line and a first down. After a Jason Colson six-yard run and an incompletion, Marshall hit Eddie Jackson for 26 yards on third down and four to give West Virginia a first down at the Pitt six yard line. Colson then bounced nicely outside off right tackle for the score, and the Mountaineers led 7-0.
It didn't take the Mountaineers long to jump back on the Panthers. The Panthers started their next drive at their own 21 yard line. Tim Murphy (20 carries, 106 yards) carried two times for 14 yards to give the Panthers a first down at the Pitt 35. However, Palko was sacked by Adam Lehnortt on third down at the Pitt 41 yard line and the Panthers were forced into their second consecutive punt. Adam Graessle's punt was blocked by Antonio Lewis, although replays appeared to show the punt going off a Pitt lineman. Jerry White jumped on the ball at the Pitt 17 yard line and the Mountaineers took over.
Kay Jay Harris was stopped for a three yard loss on first down, and Marshall was sacked for a four yard loss to give WVU a third down and 17 from the 24. Harris caught a swing pass from Marshall for 15 yards and the Mountaineers were forced to kick a field goal. Brad Cooper came on to boot a 26-yard field goal, and the Mountaineers took the lead 10-0.
Pitt moved the ball for the first time on their ensuing drive. Murphy ran off right tackle for six yards on first down to the Pitt 35. On third down, Palko hit Greg Lee (8 catches for 124 yards) for nine yards to give the Panthers a first down at the Pitt 44. Palko hit Lee on a beautiful pass down the middle for 38 yards to move the ball to the WVU 18. The Mountaineer defense stiffened there, as Palko was sacked on second down, and his pass was incomplete on third down, and the Panthers were forced to attempt a field goal. Josh Cummings came on and booted a 37-yard field goal to cut the WVU lead to 10-3.
Neither team moved the ball for the next three drives, and the Panthers took the ball at their own 28 yard line with 9:54 remaining in the half. Murphy burst off the right side for 37 yards on the first play of the drive to move the ball to the WVU 35 yard line. Palko then hit Marcus Furman for 16 yards to the WVU 19 yard line and the Mountaineers were back on their heels. However, Pitt was unable to capitalize and Cummings came on to boot a 35-yard field goal to cut the WVU lead to 10-6 with 8:15 left in the half.
Marshall and Jason Colson (14 rushes, 43 yards; 2 catches, 22 yards) then led the Mountaineers on an impressive drive to stall the Pitt momentum. Starting at the 35 yard line after Pitt kicked the ball out of bounds, Marshall rushed for seven yards after being chased out of the pocket on first down. Colson then barreled off the left side for four yards to give WVU a first down at the WVU 46. Two plays later Colson caught a swing pass for 14 yards, including a couple of nice moves to get the Mountaineers a first down on third and ten. Pernell Williams (12 rushes, 58 yards) then carried twice, for a total of eight yards. Williams' second carry was accompanied by Pitt's only penalty of the first half, a five-yard facemask, to give WVU a first down at the Pitt 27 yard line. The Mountaineers failed to move the ball on the next three plays, and Brad Cooper came on to attempt a 44 yard field goal into the open end of the stadium. The kick missed badly to the right, and the Mountaineer lead stayed at 10-6 with 4:22 remaining in the half.
The Mountaineer defense was again up to the task, and Pitt was forced to punt after just three plays.
However, the Mountaineer special teams reared its ugly head on the ensuing punt. Adam Graessle shanked the punt and it bounded down the middle of the field for 44 yards. Inexplicably, Antonio Lewis kicked the ball as it was rolling and a scrum ensued. Adam Jones dove on the ball to save WVU from disaster.
The Mountaineers again marched down the field on the Pitt defense. Williams broke through the right side of the line for 19 yards to give WVU a first down at the WVU 47. Colson then ran for six yards off the left side, and Marshall ran for five yards to give WVU another first down at the Pitt 47. Williams broke up the middle for 13 yards and Pitt's defense appeared to be tiring badly. However, the Mountaineers could not get the next play called, and were forced to call a timeout with 1:43 remaining. Two plays later Marshall bolted for 18 yards down to the Pitt 15 yard line.
Then WVU again flirted with disaster, as Tim Brown's shotgun snap did not make it back to Marshall and he was forced to dive on it for a two yard loss. Marshall then threw incomplete to Colson on second down, and on third down and 12 WVU tried to sneak Colson off the right side on a delay, but he was stopped after a three-yard gain. WVU called timeout with two seconds left in the half, and Brad Cooper came on to attempt a 31-yard field goal. Pitt's J.J. Horne blocked the kick as time expired and the score remained 10-6 at the half.
West Virginia's special teams again buried the Mountaineers on the first drive of the second half. The Mountaineer defense started the second half just the way it ended the first, with a quick three and out by the Panthers. Palko threw two incompletions on the short drive. However, while Graessle was in the midst of kicking a 51 yard kick to the WVU 31, L.J. Montinar was being called for roughing the kicker, a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down at the Pitt 33 yard line.
Palko wasted little time in taking advantage of the situation. After completing a short two-yard strike to Lee, he rolled out and again hit Lee, this time for 29 yards to the WVU 30 yard line. Tim Murphy then ran four straight times for Pitt. However, on the second run, Ben Lynch was called for a 15-yard facemask, and Pitt ended up with a first down at the WVU 11. The defense held and Palko's pass to Darrell Strong was dropped, and Walt Harris opted to send in his field goal unit. Cummings kicked a 20 yard field goal, his third of the game, to cut the WVU lead to 10-9.
Pitt evidently intended to prove they had worse special teams than WVU, and tried a pooch kick. Hikee Johnson took the kick at the WVU 35 and ran for eight yards to give the Mountaineers good field position at the 43 yard line. Marshall hit Jackson for 11 yards on second down to move the ball to the Pitt 45 and WVU was rolling once again. After a five yard Colson rush, Williams was stopped for no gain up the middle. On third down Marshall rolled out and hit Charles Hales streaking across the middle for 16 yards and the Mountaineers had a first down at the Pitt 24. Harris then ran a toss to the left side for 11 yards on first down, and the Pitt defense was once again on its heels. Williams then bolted for 10 strong yards up the middle to give the Mountaineers a first and goal at the Pitt three yard line. However, during a one yard run by Williams, the Mountaineers were called for a personal foul and all of the sudden WVU had the ball back at the Pitt 18 yard line. WVU managed but three yards on three plays, and Andy Good came on to attempt a 31-yard field goal. Good's kick sailed through the uprights and WVU's lead was extended to 13-9 with 5:07 remaining in the third quarter.
The Mountaineer defense again trotted out on the field and took care of business. After three straight Tim Murphy runs took Pitt to their own 34 yard line, Palko was sacked by Jason Hardee for a five yard loss. Palko's pass on third down was dropped by Lee, and Pitt again was forced to punt.
After an incompletion on first down, Marshall hit Ray Bolden for 17 yards to move the ball to the Pitt 44. However, the Mountaineers were again called for a personal foul, this time on offensive lineman Jeremy Sheffey, and WVU was forced into a second down and 25 from its own 24. Marshall was forced out of the pocket on second down, and he ran for a tough 11 yards to get the Mountaineers in decent position to go for the first down at the WVU 35. However, Marshall's pass to Joe Hunter was picked off by H.B. Blades at the WVU 47, and returned seven yards to the 40.
The Mountaineer defense was again up to the task, and Pitt managed three yards in three plays, and Graessle punted 34 yards to the WVU three yard line with four seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Williams ran for two yards on first down to move the ball to the five as time ran out in the third quarter. On second and eight, Williams bounced outside to the right and appeared to be headed for a first down, but tripped over his own feet and fell a yard short at the WVU 12. Williams was stuffed by Pitt's Vince Crouchunis for no gain, and WVU was forced to punt.
Phil Brady uncorked one of his trademark low shanks, and Darrelle Revis took the 27 yard punt from the WVU 39 for a 19 yard return to the Mountaineer 20.
Again the Mountaineer defense held strong and Pitt was forced to attempt a field goal from 41 yards into the open end of the stadium. West Virginia was called for offsides on an obvious false start, and the Panthers got five yards closer with a chance to cut the lead back to one. Cummings' 35-yard attempt was wide right, and WVU again took the ball with a four point lead, with 12:43 remaining in the game.
The Mountaineers again moved the ball on the Panther defense. Marshall ran for 14 yards on first down to move the ball to the 34 yard line. Offensive lineman Jeremy Sheffey was called for a false start, and WVU was backed up to the 29.
After Colson was stopped for a one-yard gain, and Marshall was stopped for a three-yard loss WVU was staring at third and 17 from the 27. Marshall was forced out of the pocket and scrambled for 13 yards, and Phil Brady was again summoned to punt, on fourth and four from the WVU 40. The Mountaineers then ran their first fake punt of the season, as Brady scampered and dove for a five yard gain to give the Mountaineers a first down at the 45. Jeff Berk was then called for a false start, and the Mountaineers were back to the 40. Marshall was then intercepted on second and 16 by Darrelle Revis at the Pitt 27. Considering WVU's punting woes this was as good as a punt, with 4:06 remaining.
Pitt then mounted the winning drive. Fourteen plays and seventy three yards all behind the arms and legs of Palko. However, not without Walt Harris trying to give the game away.
On the second play of the drive, the Panthers tried an end-around pass from Darrell Strong to Lee. However, the Mountaineers were all over Lee, and Strong was stopped for a two yard loss.
Palko rescued the Panthers once again with a ten yard strike to Erik Gill and the Panthers were off. However, on first and goal from the 10 yard line, Harris called a halfback option pass from Tim Murphy. Tight end Erik Gill was triple covered in the endzone, but Adam Lehnortt was called for pass interference and the Panthers had first and goal from the two. Palko ran it in two plays later, and the Mountaineer regular season swirled down the toilet.
West Virginia finishes a disappointing regular season at 8-3, 4-2 in the conference, and must await word on their bowl destination, anywhere from the Gator Bowl to the Motor City Bowl. Pitt travels to Big East 2005 newcomer South Florida on December 4th to make up their game that was washed out by Hurricane Frances in September.