Scores

Final/OT

Pittsburgh 10

(0-2, 0-1 away)

Ohio 16

(1-1, 1-0 home)

Coverage: ESPN2

8:00 PM ET, September 9, 2005

Peden Stadium, Athens, OH

1 2 3 4 OT T
PITT 7 0 0 3 010
OHIO 7 3 0 0 616

Top Performers

Passing: A. Everson (OHIO) - 112 YDS

Rushing: R. Kirkley Jr. (PITT) - 15 CAR, 66 YDS

Receiving: G. Lee (PITT) - 4 REC, 44 YDS

To the house! Ohio stuns Pittsburgh in overtime

ATHENS, Ohio (AP) -- Dion Byrum returned two interceptions for touchdowns, the second one in overtime Friday night that brought thousands of jubilant fans onto the field and gave Ohio coach Frank Solich a stunning victory in his home debut, 16-10 over Pitt.

Byrum ran one back 38 yards in the first quarter to get the Bobcats revved. He stepped in front of Tyler Palko's pass in the first overtime and returned it 85 yards untouched, gently placing the ball down once he crossed the goal line.

Led by their defense, the Bobcats (1-1) pulled off one of their biggest victories in a generation, providing Solich with a proud moment in the national spotlight. The former Nebraska coach was brought in to rebuild one of the nation's worst football programs.

The Panthers, opened the season ranked No. 23 under first-year coach Dave Wannstedt, but have started to 0-2 for the first time since 1984. Next week, they play at Nebraska.

Pitt's LaRod Stephens returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, but the Panthers' offense self-destructed behind Palko, a junior quarterback who was 13-of-26 for 120 yards with three interceptions.

Before the game, Ohio gave away 10,000 pairs of thunder sticks, 10,000 rally towels and 2,000 T-shirts, commemorating Solich's debut. A Peden Stadium-record crowd of 24,535 slapped the sticks and waved the towels while the Bobcats were introduced to pregame fireworks.

Only 13 seconds into the game, the sticks and the crowd went silent after Stephens returned the kickoff untouched.

New coach, same old Ohio.

There was reason for pessimism. The Bobcats hadn't been on national television since 1969. In the last 35 years, they've had 29 losing seasons, spawning a local tradition. Students go to games, watch the band at halftime, then leave en masse.

This time, the Bobcats gave them a reason to stay put.

Byrum's interception return tied it, and the Bobcats' only drive of the first half set up Brooks Rossman's 21-yard field goal for a 10-7 halftime lead. The 110-member band played, and everyone stayed.

Compounding the Panthers' problems: Right tackle Mike McGlynn and left guard Dominic Williams were hurt on the same play in the first quarter, limping off the field together. McGlynn returned three series later, but it didn't make much of a difference.

Palko also struggled against Ohio last year, completing only six passes in a season-opening 24-3 win at Pitt that left the Panthers 7-0 all-time against the Bobcats.

He had a chance to tie it after Rossman missed a 32-yard field goal attempt with 2:19 to go. Palko completed 7-of-8 passes on a 70-yard drive to Josh Cummings' 27-yard field goal with 7 seconds left.

His only pass in overtime ended it and brought thousands of fans onto the field, waving those thunder sticks while fireworks went off overhead.

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