Pittsburgh wide receiver R.J. English grabs a John Turman pass in front of Kent State defensive back Nashville Dyer.
Sept. 2, 2000
By ALAN ROBINSON
AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Lamar Slade, replacing one of six suspended Pittsburgh players, caught two touchdown passes from different quarterbacks and the Panthers shook off two weather delays to beat Kent State 30-7 on Saturday.
Slade, starting because sophomore star Antonio Bryant was held out for disciplinary reasons, caught a 6-yard scoring pass from John Turman in the first quarter and a 28-yarder from David Priestley in the third.
Pitt is promoting All-Big East receiver Latef Grim and Bryant as one of college football's best receiving duos, yet its three scoring catches were by backups - two by Slade and one by R.J. English, who had two catches for 128 yards.
Pitt coach Walt Harris kept his promise to hold an in-game quarterback derby, giving both Turman and Priestley playing time in the first half before choosing Priestley to play most of the second half of the season opener.
Priestley took over with Pitt leading 13-7 at halftime and helped the Panthers outscore the Golden Flashes 17-0 in the second half, connecting with English on an 80-yard scoring pass play in the third quarter that made it 27-7.
Priestley was 8-of-15 for 183 yards and two touchdowns while Turman, who came back to play late in the game, was 5-of-11 for 110 yards as Pittsburgh avoided the close game - a 30-23 victory - it played with Kent State last year.
Kevan Barlow, who had a career-high 206 yards and two touchdowns in that game, finished with 106 yards Saturday as Pittsburgh improved to 15-0 against the Mid-American Conference teams.
The game started at 3:30 p.m. EDT and didn't end until 7:30 because of two first-half weather delays that totaled 1 hour, 2 minutes.
Pittsburgh took a 7-0 lead before the initial 19-minute lightning delay, with Turman hitting English - Grim's backup - for 48 yards to set up his 6-yard scoring pass to Slade.
Kent State tied it at 7 on Zach Williams' 11-yard scoring pass to Joel Reikowski at 12:28 of the second, just before a second lightning delay held up play for 43 minutes.
Pittsburgh managed to regain its momentum following the second delay and a brief cloudburst, with Nick Lotz kicking field goals of 30 and 22 yards before halftime. Lotz, who kicked a third field goal in the second half, squibbed the 30-yarder, but a high, floating kick that resembled a punt managed to drop over the crossbar.
Harris announced the suspension of six players, including last year's leading tackler, Ramon Walker, and Bryant, just before gametime. It is possible that some of the players will be suspended for next week's game at Bowling Green, another MAC school.
Also suspended were starting linebacker Gerald Hayes, reserve defensive back Taron Gray, reserve defensive lineman Darrell McMurray and reserve freshman quarterback Rod Rutherford.
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