1:00 PM ET, November 1, 2003
Alumni Stadium, CHESTNUT HILL, MA
BOSTON -- Larry Fitzgerald knew the play would work. After all, it worked all week in practice.
Will Blackman broke up this pass, but Fitzgerald found the end zone in the fourth quarter.
Fitzgerald set an NCAA record with a touchdown catch in his 14th straight game -- a 35-yard halfback option pass late in the fourth quarter that helped Pittsburgh (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today, No. 25 AP) beat Boston College 24-13 on Saturday.
"Every time we practiced it, it was pretty much the same thing," Fitzgerald said. "The scout squad would bite on it."
Tailback Jawan Walker threw the TD pass, and also ran for a score and caught a 47-yard scoring pass to lead the Panthers (6-2, 3-0 Big East). Rod Rutherford finished 24 of 37 for 329 yards, and Fitzgerald caught seven passes for 156 yards.
Fitzgerald set a record, but coach Walt Harris also praised Walker.
"I'd say he had quite a good afternoon," Harris said. "He did an outstanding job."
Derrick Knight carried 19 times for 119 yards, giving him consecutive 1,000-yard seasons for Boston College (5-4, 1-3).
"To get it on a day like today, a day that didn't go our way, it is tough," Knight said.
With Pittsburgh trailing 13-10, Walker took a screen pass, broke through the middle and raced down the left sideline to move the Panthers ahead with 13:39 to go.
The Eagles appeared to have taken the lead back on the ensuing possession when Knight ran 41 yards for a score. But the play was called back by a holding penalty at the Panthers' 19.
On the following possession, Walker took a handoff, rolled right and threw to a wide open Fitzgerald, who trotted into the end zone for the score. It was his 28th TD catch in his first two seasons, also an NCAA record.
"They bit up on the play. That was beautiful," Pittsburgh defensive end Claude Harriott said. "We had it all in our minds that we wanted to keep the record going."
Fitzgerald, a sophomore, has caught 24 TD passes during the streak, and needs one to tie Julius Dawkins' single-season, school-record of 16 set in 1981.
"I wouldn't say it was the easiest, but probably the most wide open," he said. "It's something that you really don't think about. I'll probably think about it five, 10 years from now."
Fitzgerald explained that he just tried to make it look like any other running play before breaking into the secondary.
"I was just thinking about going out there and executing," he said.
"He's very, very smart," said BC defensive back Will Blackmon, who was matched up with Fitzgerald most of the day.
The Eagles led 13-10 at the half after Sandro Sciortino's 23-yard field goal.
Pittsburgh went ahead 10-3 lead on Walker's scoring run, but BC tied it on Horace Dodd's 1-yard TD run.
Sciortino's 34-yard field goal gave BC a 3-0 edge, but Pittsburgh tied it on David Abdul's 32-yard field goal.
Abdul missed a 43-yard attempt late in the first half and a 26-yard try late in the third quarter.
Knight's first rush of the game gave him 1,000 yards and moved him over 3,000 for his career. It is the sixth straight year BC has had a running back with at least 1,000 yards.
BC's Quinton Porter completed 12 of 29 passes for 186 yards.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||7-16||2-13|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-1|
|FG||11:19||SANDRO SCIORTINO 34 YD FG|
Drive info: 10 plays, 62 yards.
|FG||2:04||DAVID ABDUL 32 YD FG|
Drive info: 8 plays, 73 yards.
|TD||13:34||JAWAN WALKER 3 YD RUN (DAVID ABDUL KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 51 yards.
|TD||10:37||HORACE DODD 1 YD RUN (SANDRO SCIORTINO KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 58 yards.
|FG||2:40||SANDRO SCIORTINO 23 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 87 yards.
|TD||13:39||JAWAN WALKER 47 YD PASS FROM ROD RUTHERFORD (DAVID ABDUL KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 63 yards.
|TD||8:13||LARRY FITZGERALD 35 YD PASS FROM JAWAN WALKER (DAVID ABDUL KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 80 yards.