Scores

Final

Pittsburgh 27

(2-1, 0-1 away)

Iowa 31

(2-1, 2-0 home)

Coverage: ESPN2

12:00 PM ET, September 17, 2011

Kinnick Stadium, IOWA CITY, IA

1 2 3 4 T
PITT 10 0 14 327
IOWA 0 3 7 2131

Top Performers

Passing: J. Vandenberg (IOWA) - 399 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: R. Graham (PITT) - 22 CAR, 97 YDS

Receiving: K. Davis (IOWA) - 10 REC, 129 YDS, 1 TD

James Vandenberg rallies Iowa from 17 down in fourth

Associated Press

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- With all hope apparently lost, Iowa turned to James Vandenberg and asked the junior to start chucking it.

Vandenberg responded by engineering the biggest comeback in Hawkeyes' history.

Vandenberg threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter and Iowa rallied from a 17-point deficit with just over 12 minutes left to stun Pittsburgh 31-27 on Saturday.

Vandenberg threw for 399 yards -- including 162 in the fourth quarter -- and he completed the Hawkeyes' rally with a 22-yard TD pass to Kevonte Martin-Manley with 2:51 left.

Iowa (2-1) trailed 27-10 early in the fourth quarter. But Vandenberg threw TD strikes of 14 yards to Keenan Davis and 25 yards to Martin-Manley to bring the Hawkeyes within three, then found a leaping Martin-Manley for the go-ahead score.

Iowa's Micah Hyde picked off Pittsburgh quarterback Tino Sunseri with 1:41 left to cap a wild win for the Hawkeyes (2-1), who narrowly avoided their worst start in 11 years.

Sunseri had 255 yards passing for the Panthers (2-1), who looked to have locked up a key road win more than once before they were torched by a resurgent Vandenberg.

The Panthers led by as much as 24-3 on Sunseri's 4-yard TD pass to Drew Carswell with 3:11 left in the third quarter. Vandenberg moved the Hawkeyes 60 yards in under two minutes and scored on a 1-yard plunge to make it 24-10 -- but Pitt answered with a long drive capped by Kevin Harper's 24-yard field goal with 12:09 to go, putting Iowa three scores behind again.

Given how stagnant Iowa's offense had looked to that point, the Hawkeyes didn't seem to have enough left to make it close, let alone escape with a much-needed win.

But Vandenberg cut Pitt's lead to 27-17 with 9:55 left, finding Davis for a 14-yard score. The Panthers moved to Iowa's 36-yard line but were stopped on fourth down, leaving the door open for Vandenberg to lead the Hawkeyes right back down the field.

Iowa caught a break when Pittsburgh's Buddy Jackson was called for pass interference on a key third down. Two plays later, Vandenberg hit Martin-Manley from 25 yards out to make it 27-24 with 6:19 left.

The Hawkeyes forced another quick punt, and Vandenberg drove the Hawkeyes 64 yards in just 1:31 before capping the comeback with a 22-yard TD toss to Martin-Manley.

Davis had 10 catches for 129 yards and Marvin McNutt added 112 yards receiving for Iowa, whose 21-point rally topped its 18-point comeback against Oregon in 1949.

For most of the afternoon, it looked as Pitt had little to worry about.

The Panthers opened the second half up 10-3, and used some trickery to extend the lead.

Ray Graham took a handoff and gave it to receiver Ronald Jones on a reverse. Jones did the rest, floating it out to an open Cameron Saddler for a 30-yard touchdown to give the Panthers a 17-3 lead.

Pitt made it 24-3 just three minutes later, and some Iowa fans headed for the exits certain Iowa would be 1-2 for the first time since 2000.

The ones who stayed rushed the field at the final whistle, as the Hawkeyes bounced back from a 44-41 triple-overtime loss at Iowa State in a manner few thought possible.

Devin Street had seven catches for 138 yards and Ray Graham rushed for 97 yards for the Panthers.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PITT
IOWA
1st Downs2027
Total Yards422475
Passing285399
Rushing13776
Penalties4-378-85
3rd Down Conversions4-135-15
4th Down Conversions0-10-1
Turnovers31
Possession26:5333:07

Passing Leaders

PittsburghC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Sunseri23/332557.722
IowaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Vandenberg31/483998.331

Rushing Leaders

PittsburghCARYDSAVGTDLG
Graham22974.4024
Sunseri11252.3023
IowaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Coker23863.7014
Bullock144.004

Receiving Leaders

PittsburghRECYDSAVGTDLG
Street713819.7166
Graham6508.3011
IowaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Davis1012912.9122
McNutt811214.0043

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPITTIOWA
TD06:35Devin Street 66 Yd Pass From Tino Sunseri (Kevin Harper Kick) 70
FG01:27Kevin Harper 37 Yd 100
SECOND QUARTERPITTIOWA
FG08:57Mike Meyer 22 Yd 103
THIRD QUARTERPITTIOWA
TD06:27Cameron Saddler 30 Yd Pass From Ronald Jones (Kevin Harper Kick) 173
TD03:11Drew Carswell 4 Yd Pass From Tino Sunseri (Kevin Harper Kick) 243
TD01:16James Vandenberg 1 Yd Run (Mike Meyer Kick) 2410
FOURTH QUARTERPITTIOWA
FG12:09Kevin Harper 24 Yd 2710
TD09:55Keenan Davis 14 Yd Pass From James Vandenberg (Mike Meyer Kick) 2717
TD06:19Kevonte Martin-Manley 25 Yd Pass From James Vandenberg (Mike Meyer Kick) 2724
TD02:51Kevonte Martin-Manley 22 Yd Pass From James Vandenberg (Mike Meyer Kick) 2731

Research Notes

Iowa trailed Pittsburgh by 21 points, 24-3. The 21-point comeback to win marks the largest in school history. The previous largest comeback was 18 points, on Oct. 29, 1949 vs Oregon.

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