Pittsburgh kick returner Torrie Cox sprints away from Rutgers defenders to return a second quarter kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown.
Sept. 23, 2000
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Torrie Cox returned a kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown as Pittsburgh overcame seven turnovers and two missed field goals to beat Rutgers 29-17 on Saturday.
Pittsburgh (4-0, 1-0 Big East) is off to its best start since the 1991 team opened 5-0.
The Panthers had five fumbles and two interceptions after committing only six turnovers in three games. Nick Lotz missed a 22-yard field goal and 50-yarder was partially blocked.
Rutgers (2-2, 0-2) lost quarterback Mike McMahon to a strained right shoulder in the second quarter. McMahon was injured when he was sacked by linebacker Lewis Moore.
McMahon completed 10 of 17 passes for 80 yards with a touchdown and interception. His replacement, sophomore Chad Schwenk, was 10-for-19 for 145 yards.
Schwenk's fourth-quarter fumble gave Pitt the ball at Rutgers' 35 and led to a touchdown that put the game out of reach with 4:48 left. Nick Goings rushed for 15 of his 105 yards in the drive and Lousaka Polite ran 1 yard for his first career touchdown.
Rutgers trailed 23-7 at halftime, but got back in the game because of turnovers that resulted in 10 points in the third quarter. Kevan Barlow's fumble at the Scarlet Knights' 10 led to a 12-play drive that ended with Steve Barone's 22-yard field goal.
Later in the third quarter, Kurt Johnson's snap sailed over punter Jay Junko's head. Junko tried to bat the ball out of the end zone, but missed and safety Wes Lysack recovered for a touchdown that got Rutgers within six at 23-17.
Cox's return changed the momentum after a turnover gave Rutgers the ball near midfield to set up a touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, Cox burst up the middle for the 86-yard score.
Pitt had driven to Rutgers' 35 early in the second quarter when John Turman's pass was intercepted by Shahib White and returned 40 yards to the Scarlet Knights' 49. McMahon's third-down touchdown pass to Errol Johnson tied the score at 7.
The Panthers had a 12-play, 72-yard touchdown drive on their first possession. Barlow ended it with a 1-yard run. He also kept the drive alive with an 18-yard run off an option pitch from Rod Rutherford on third-and-5.
Pitt is 15-3 against Rutgers.
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