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

loss.

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

impossible.

Not that Sunseri or Anderson had time to throw. Pitt came in

allowing 28 sacks on the season, easily the highest in the

country.

Coach Todd Graham shuffled the line in hopes of providing some

protection, moving Matt Rotheram to right tackle and Jordan Gibbs

to center.

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’

hands.

The momentum carried over into the second half as Utah continued

its domination of the Big East.