PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Nebraska capitalized on four Pittsburgh
turnovers and batted down a pass in the end zone on the game's
final play to preserve a 24-17 win Saturday in the first meeting of
the teams since 1958.
The win kept Nebraska (2-1) from dropping below .500 for the
first time in 23 years.
The Cornhuskers, who gave the ball away 11 times in their first
two games, got into trouble again when Joe Dailey threw a
fourth-quarter interception that allowed the Panthers (1-1) to pull
within a touchdown in the closing minutes. Pitt got the ball back
and drove inside the Nebraska 20, but could not score again.
Linebacker H.B. Blades picked off Dailey with 4:53 left, and one
play later Pitt's Tyler Palko threw a 34-yard scoring pass to Greg
Lee to pull the Panthers within 24-17. On Pitt's final drive,
Palko's 31-yard completion to Darrell Strong on fourth down with 6
seconds left put the ball inside the 20.
Palko scrambled to his left on the final play and threw a
floater into the end zone, but cornerback Titus Brothers batted it
Dailey, who entered the game with a nation-high seven
interceptions, was 11-of-22 for 142 yards and a touchdown. He also
scored untouched on a 17-yard run.
Palko, who passed for just 49 yards in last week's win against
Ohio, again looked shaky. He was 22-of-45 for 228 yards and a
touchdown. The left-hander threw three interceptions. Redshirt
freshman Joe Flacco took over for a series late in the third
quarter but couldn't move the offense.
Three of Nebraska's first-half scores were set up by turnovers --
each giving the Huskers the ball inside Pittsburgh's 10-yard line.
Fabian Washington intercepted Palko on Pitt's first possession
and returned it 19 yards to the Nebraska 4, leading to a field
goal. Wali Muhammad later picked off Palko, leading to a 2-yard
scoring run by Cory Ross, who led the Huskers with 73 yards on 24
Pitt's Allen Richardson dropped a fair catch punt later in the
half, leading to Dailey's 6-yard scoring pass to Ross Pilkington.
Marcus Furman had a 96-yard kickoff return for Pitt.