Oct. 21, 2000
By ALAN ROBINSON
AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH -- John Turman relaxed after finally being chosen as Pittsburgh's starting quarterback - and, by doing so, gave No. 2 Virginia Tech something to worry about.
Turman, who waited half a season to be designated as the starter, threw five touchdown passes - two to Antonio Bryant - and the Panthers won a big-play duel by beating Boston College 42-26 Saturday.
In a game featuring four touchdowns of 41 yards or longer, Bryant made the biggest plays against what was the nation's second-ranked passing defense with scoring catches of 41 and 67 yards.
Bryant caught eight passes for 222 yards and Kevan Barlow, who also scored twice, ran for 209 yards on 25 carries as Pitt outgained Boston College 584-424. The Panthers (5-1, 2-1 in Big East) play Saturday at No. 2 Virginia Tech.
Turman, who previously split time with former starter David Priestley, also hit tight ends Kris Wilson and Brennan Carroll for their first career touchdowns and Barlow on an 11-yard scoring play.
Barlow also ran 45 yards for a touchdown with 7:28 remaining, the third long scoring play in half a quarter, as the Panthers beat Boston College (4-3, 1-3) for only the second time in nine years.
"The statistic I like most is that it was our fifth win," Pitt coach Walt Harris said. "We've lost some heart-wrenching games to this team before, so I was wired up."
Turman was 16-of-29 for 332 yards against a pass defense that was allowing 146.7 yards per game.
"We gave up too many long passes and long runs to give ourselves a chance," Boston College coach Tom O'Brien said. "I just don't know if we're good enough for an attack like that."
Barlow, a senior, was benched after fumbling in the fourth quarter of Pittsburgh's 24-17 loss at Syracuse on Oct. 7, but responded with the best game of his career. His previous high was 206 yards against Kent State last year. Likewise, Turman stayed in the game after fumbling in the first quarter, which he might not have done when Priestley also was playing.
"Maybe I was a little more relaxed," said Turman, who has thrown 11 touchdown passes and two interceptions. "But I was looking at it as more that we needed to win than I needed to know I was the starter. We needed to come back."
Bryant, a sophomore who sat out Pitt's opener for disciplinary reasons, has 703 yards receiving in five games - a 140.6 average - and a fast-developing reputation as one of the nation's best receivers.
"But you can't go into any game thinking you can't be stopped or you will get humbled," he said. "I go into every game thinking I haven't caught a pass yet, haven't caught a touchdown pass yet, haven't even touched the ball yet."
Pitt continued its best start since opening 5-0 in 1991, when the Panthers last had a winning record. They must win at least once in their final five games for a chance at their second bowl game appearance in 11 years. They lost 42-7 to Southern Mississippi in the 1997 Liberty Bowl to finish 6-6.
However, in the next three weeks, the Panthers play two top five teams, No. 2 Virginia Tech and No. 4 Miami. With Priestley throwing for 407 yards, the Panthers gave Virginia Tech a scare before losing 30-17 last season.
"We kind of caught them off-guard last season, but they're going to be a lot more aware of what we can put together," Bryant said.
Turman fed a shovel pass to Barlow for an 11-yard touchdown with 1:03 left in the third quarter to put Pitt ahead 28-13 and start a quick flurry of four touchdowns, two by each team, in a span of 4 minutes, 56 seconds.
Boston College's Tim Hasselbeck, 18-of-34 for 280 yards and three interceptions, responded by finding Dedrick Dewalt behind cornerback Shawn Robinson on a 77-yard touchdown pass barely a minute later. Dewalt had eight receptions for 183 yards.
However, Pitt needed only five plays to answer, with Turman connecting with Bryant on a 67-yard scoring pass at 13:00 of the fourth that made it 35-20. Hasselbeck responded with a 9-yard scoring throw to Cedric Washington at 11:11, but Barlow's second touchdown headed off any Boston College comeback attempt
"Each time it looked like we were going to get the ball back, they would put a score on the board and we would get in a bigger hole," Hasselbeck said.
Earlier, Wilson's 23-yard touchdown catch on first career reception made it 7-0 following the first of two Robinson interceptions.
After the Eagles went ahead 10-7 on the first of two Washington touchdowns and Mike Sutphin's 37-yard field goal, Turman's throwing and Barlow's running keyed a pair of Pitt second-quarter scoring drives that put the Panthers up 21-13 at halftime.
Carroll, a third-team tight end who is the son of former New England Patriots coach Pete Carroll, finished off a 70-yard drive with a 3-yard scoring catch at 8:55 of the second. On Pitt's next drive, Turman hit Bryant for 31 yards on a second-and-15 before finding Bryant on a 41-yard scoring pass at 5:50.
Pete Gonzalez holds Pitt's record with seven touchdown passes in a 1997 overtime victory over Rutgers. Bryant was three yards shy of Dietrich Jells' school record 225 yards receiving against West Virginia in 1994.
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