1:30 PM ET, October 18, 2003
High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ
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 against Pittsburgh.
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 reception.
Pittsburgh scored touchdowns on six of nine first-half possessions.
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.