PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- Larry Fitzgerald put on a sensational
first-half show with eight catches for a career-best 207 yards and
two touchdowns as Pittsburgh defeated Rutgers 42-32 on Saturday.
The star wide receiver caught scoring passes of 43 and 26 yards
from Rod Rutherford and extended his streak of catching a touchdown
pass to 12 games.
Rutherford threw for a career-high 382 yards and three TDs and
also ran for a score.
The Panthers (4-2, 1-0 Big East) rebounded from last week's loss
to Notre Dame, while Rutgers (3-4, 0-3) lost its fifth straight
The TDs gave Fitzgerald 13 this season, tying the conference
record set by Pitt's Terry Murphy in 1997. The NCAA mark for
touchdowns in consecutive games is 13, set last year by Michigan
State's Charles Rogers.
Jawan Walker scored on runs of 6 and 55 yards for the Panthers,
who took a 42-7 halftime lead before Rutgers made it close.
Brian Leonard caught two short touchdown passes and ran for two
other scores for Rutgers. His 1-yard run with 4:27 to play cut the
lead to 10 points, but Ryan Hart, who threw for a career-best 384
yards, was sacked on the ensuing 2-point conversion.
Tez Morris and William Ferguson iced the game with interceptions
in the final 1:34.
Freshman Justise Hairston also ran for a touchdown for the
Scarlet Knights, who have now lost 25 straight conference games.
Their last win in the league came late in the 1999 season.
The Panthers, who were knocked out of the Top 25 after losing to
Notre Dame last weekend, gained 427 yards and averaged 9.7 yards
per play in taking a 42-7 halftime lead. In the second half, they
were limited to 67 yards and Fitzgerald was held without a
Pittsburgh scored touchdowns on six of nine first-half
Walker scored on a 6-yard run to cap a game-opening drive and
Rutherford stretched the lead to 14-0 with an 11-yard touchdown
pass to tight end Kris Wilson, who set career marks with nine
catches for 110 yards.
Leonard scored on a 1-yard pass early in the second quarter, but
Pittsburgh scored on four straight possessions after recovering a
fumbled punt by Tres Moses.
Rutherford, who finished 22-of-38, scored on a 5-yard run. He
played catch with Fitzgerald on the touchdown passes in a 2:14
span. Walker's long run capped the Panthers' scoring.
Leonard scored on passes of 1 and 5 yards and runs of 1 and 7
yards for Rutgers. Shawn Tucker finished with nine catches for 186
yards, with 183 coming in the second half.
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