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Pittsburgh Loses Close Call To Tar Heels, 20-17

John Turman hit Antonio Bryant for a 84-yard touchdown strike before being pulled from the game by Walt Harris.

John Turman hit Antonio Bryant for a 84-yard touchdown strike before being pulled from the game by Walt Harris.

Nov. 4, 2000

Box Score

North Carolina 20, Pittsburgh 17

By ALAN ROBINSON
AP Sports Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Willie Parker scored a touchdown and set up another with his running and receiving as North Carolina gave up big plays but not many points in upsetting Pittsburgh 20-17 Saturday night.

The Tar Heels (4-5) had lost four in a row, three by 14 points or more, and were one loss away from their first consecutive losing seasons since 1988 and 1989.

Pittsburgh (5-3), a 37-34 loser at No. 2 Virginia Tech the week before, lost its third in four games after what coach Walt Harris presciently called the worst week of practice all season.

Parker had an 8-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, then had a 25-yard run and two catches for 45 yards on a 98-yard drive finished by Anthony Saunders' 2-yard scoring run with 5:52 remaining.

Saunders started the drive with a 12-yard run, and Parker followed with his long run and a 34-yard gain on a swing pass on consecutive plays as North Carolina quickly drove to the Pitt 25.

Saunders scored to make it 20-10 after a 6-yard pass interference penalty on William Ferguson on a third-and-8 play from the 12 gave North Carolina a first down at the 6.

Pittsburgh wasted a third big game in a row by NCAA receiving leader Antonio Bryant, who caught eight passes for 212 yards and a touchdown - his sixth scoring catch in three games.

Bryant and John Turman connected on an 84-yard touchdown pass play in the second quarter that tied it at 10 - the sixth longest play in Pitt history - and later combined on a 52-yard completion. However, Pitt couldn't score after that catch when a bad snap by backup center Brian Guzek prevented a possible tying field goal attempt.

Turman, off-target most of the night after throwing for 643 yards in his previous two games, was replaced late in the third quarter by former starter David Priestley with Pitt down 13-10 following the second of Jeff Reed's two field goals.

 

 

Priestley lost Pitt's third fumble on his first series, but came back to find Pitt career receiving leader Latef Grim on a 19-yard scoring pass play with 4:20 remaining that cut the Tar Heels' lead to 20-17.

Pitt, which had been 4-0 in its first and only full season in Three Rivers Stadium, got the ball back with about two minutes left. However, the Panthers lost the ball on downs when Priestley threw three consecutive incompletions before being sacked by Julius Peppers for a 10-yard loss.

Turman, who had thrown nine touchdown passes in two starts since beating out Priestley, was 10-of-23 for 225 yards. Priestley was 8-of-16 for 119 yards as the two Pitt quarterbacks combined to go 18-of-39 for 344 yards and no interceptions.

Parker ran for 61 yards and had three catches for 56 yards as North Carolina won despite Ronald Curry's 13-for-32 passing night for 164 yards. Kevan Barlow carried 15 times for 77 yards for Pitt.

The loss came on a night Pitt honored former quarterback star Dan Marino and the 1980 Panthers, a No. 2-ranked team that sent 12 seniors to the NFL.