Utah 26, Pittsburgh 14
John White ran for 171 yards and Coleman Petersen kicked four
field goals in the tricky Heinz Field winds to lead Utah by reeling
Pittsburgh 26-14 on Saturday.
The Utes (3-3) snapped a two-game losing streak behind the legs
of White and Petersen and an impressive defensive effort to improve
to 9-0 all-time against current members of the Big East.
Petersen, who’d made four field goals all year coming in,
converted kicks of 23, 34, 39 and 45 yards in winds that gusted
over 30 mph.
Utah’s Derrick Shelby returned a late interception 21 yards for
a touchdown as the Utes sent Pitt (3-4) to its second straight
The Panthers managed just 120 total yards, turned it over three
times and a reconfigured offensive line allowed quarterbacks Trey
Anderson and Tino Sunseri to get sacked six times.
Pitt running back Ray Graham managed a season-low 46 yards, more
than 100 yards below his average.
The injury-riddled Utes, playing without leading receiver
DeVonte Christopher and quarterback Jordan Wynn, won by holding
onto the ball, something they failed to do in losses to Washington
and Arizona State when they turned it over a combined 10 times.
Quarterback Jon Hays completed 14 of 23 passes 127 yards and a
score without throwing an interception, though the game belonged to
White, Petersen and Utah’s front seven.
White carried the ball 35 times, allowing Utah to hold the ball
for nearly 38 minutes. Though the Utes had trouble finishing
drives, Petersen found a way to deal with the swirling winds that
ruffled officials’ pants and made throwing the ball nearly
Not that Sunseri or Anderson had time to throw. Pitt came in
allowing 28 sacks on the season, easily the highest in the
Coach Todd Graham shuffled the line in hopes of providing some
protection, moving Matt Rotheram to right tackle and Jordan Gibbs
It didn’t work. Sunseri and Anderson spent most of the day
trying to scramble out of danger. When they did they combined to
complete 9 of 30 passes for 50 yards.
Their inability to get anything going allowed the Utes to focus
on Ray Graham, who came in averaging nearly 150 yards a game and
was off to the best six-game start in the program’s history.
There were no holes to be had this time as the ”high octane”
offense Todd Graham promised when he took over in January fizzled
for the second straight game.
Utah’s line wasn’t much better than Pitt’s, giving up seven
sacks, but the Utes were able to move the ball enough to put
Petersen in position to convert. He gave Utah the lead with a
39-yard kick in the third quarter then added a career-long 45
yarder in the fourth quarter to push Utah’s lead to 19-14.
The Panthers moved to the Utah 35 midway through the fourth
quarter but Anderson threw incomplete on fourth down. It would be
Pitt’s last chance. Anderson was intercepted twice in the final
minutes, including a botched screen pass to Ray Graham that allowed
Shelby picked off and hustled down the sideline for the
game-sealing touchdown with 1:12 to play.
Even with the offense sputtering the Panthers took a 14-13
halftime lead behind a pair of spectacular special teams plays.
Buddy Jackson returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown,
bouncing off two Utah tacklers at the Pitt 15 before sprinting to
the outside and racing down the sideline for a score.
The unit needed just four plays to strike again. The Pitt
defense forced a three-and-out and Andrew Taglianetti blocked Nick
Marsh’s punt. Antwuan Reed picked up the loose ball at the 10 and
strolled into the end zone to put Pitt up 14-3, the first punt
block for a score by the Panthers since 1991.
Utah pulled rallied to get within a point thanks to a little
luck. Hays hit Luke Matthews for a 33-yard touchdown pass with 2:07
to go in the half. Hays heaved the ball in the face of a heavy rush
and Pitt linebacker Max Gruder deflected it into Matthews’
The momentum carried over into the second half as Utah continued
its domination of the Big East.