Estimated read time: 13-14 minutes
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Score: Utah 27, Pittsburgh 24
On a big-time stage with a national audience, Utah extended its home winning streak to 18 games as they defeat the Pittsburgh Panthers 27-24 in overtime.
The Utah defense, even after being backed up against the wall and put in poor situations, played a spectacular game, holding Heisman Trophy candidate Dion Lewis to only 83 yards on 25 carries, a 3.0 yard average. Pitt had the ball nearly 10 minutes more than the Utes did, but the defense did enough to get the win for the team.
The offense showed some signs of life, especially in the second quarter. But turnovers and costly penalties killed drives, something that I'm sure Coach Whittingham will work on this week in practice.
It was a great win for the Utes, who improve to 1-0 on the young season, while Pitt falls to 0-1. Utah is now 8-0 against current Big East teams.
Next up for the Utes: vs UNLV, Sat, Sept 11
Next up for the Panthers: vs New Hampshire Sat, Sept 11
Score: Utah 27, Pittsburgh 24
INTERCEPTION! True freshman strong safety Brian Blechen intercepts Sunseri on the Panther's first play of overtime. If the Utes score here, the game is over.
Utah drives down to the Pitt four yard line, where Joe Phillips will attempt a 21 yard field goal.
IT'S GOOD! UTES WIN!! UTES WIN!!
Time Remaining: 0:00 Fourth Quarter
Score: Utah 24, Pittsburgh 24
As Lee Corso of ESPN would say, "Not so fast my friends!" It only takes Pitt 3 plays to cover 63 yards, and as quick as Utah's lead was 11, it is now down to only 3. The scoring play was a 44 yard pass from Sunseri to Jon Baldwin, who happened to be completely open after blown coverage.
The Utes eat up some clock, but a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on OL John Cullen pushes the Utes back into a 2nd and 23, a hole which they can't dig themselves out of. To make matters worse, Sellwood's punt goes of the side of his foot, and Pitt will have excellent field position right at midfield.
Things not looking good for Utah right now. Sunseri just connected with Mike Shanahan for a 20 yard gain, putting the ball on the Utah 14 yard line.
It looks like this one is coming down to a field goal attempt. Three seconds left, Dan Hutchins will attempt a 30 yard field goal.
Coach Whitt just called a timeout right before the kick, which Hutchins made. Let's see if he makes it again.
This time the timeout trick came back to bite Coach Whitt, hard. Just before the kick, Whitt calls a timeout again, but Hutchins missed it. Wow.
The third time through Hutchins makes the kick, and we are going to overtime.
Time Remaining: 7:59 Fourth Quarter
Score: Utah 24, Pittsburgh 13
TOUCHDOWN UTAH! DeVonte Christopher ran a short slant route, found himself wide open and a Jordan Wynn pass heading his way, turned on the jets and 61 yards later he found the end zone for his first career touchdown as a Ute. A great read by Wynn, but even better speed by Christopher. He is making a name for himself as a big play receiver for the Utes.
Time Remaining: 9:48 Fourth Quarter
Score: Utah 17, Pittsburgh 13
Pitt has dominated the time of possession, and its taking its toll on the Utah defense. Pitt is chipping away, play by play, and now have it inside the Utah 20 yard line. Lewis is finding more lanes to run through, and Sunseri is making the plays needed to keep the offense on the field. Sunseri keeps the ball on a crucial 4th down and gains barely enough to move the chains. 1st and goal inside the 5.
UNBELIEVABLE. Utah's defense comes up with an amazing stop on 3rd and goal, and this time Pitt elects for the field goal. The kick by Dan Hutchins is good, and Pitt closes the gap to 4.
Now is the time the Utah offense HAS to come together. They have relied on the defense up to this point, and now they need to take control and put up some points.
Time Remaining: 2:36 Third Quarter
Score: Utah 17, Pittsburgh 10
The Utah offense and special teams should be taking the defense out to dinner, at least every night for the next week. After special teams gives Pitt the ball on the Utah 8 yard line and having a Heisman candidate at running back, the Utah defense holds Pitt to a 37 yard field goal. The Utah defensive line played lights out, hurrying Sunseri once, holding Lewis to no gain, and sacking Sunseri. Great job by the defense.
What was a terrific offense for the second quarter and first play of this 2nd half, has stalled. Completely. The last two Utah possessions have been three and outs.
Time Remaining: 5:48 Third Quarter
Score: Utah 17, Pittsburgh 7
Home field advantage setting in for the Utes, as the fans helped force back-to-back false starts for Pitt, putting them into a 3rd and 17 situation. Pitt QB Tino Sunseri tries to hit Jon Baldwin deep, but the pass is incomplete. Utes will take over on their own 29 yard line after a Pitt punt.
Penalties kill the Utah drive before it gets started, as the Utes are unable to get a first down. Pitt blocks the Utah punt, and the Panthers will have a great opportunity to close the gap inside the Utah 8 yard line.
Time Remaining: 11:52 Third Quarter
Score: Utah 17, Pittsburgh 7
A 46-yard pass from Jordan Wynn to Jereme Brooks sets the Utes up with fantastic field position deep in Pitt territory, but the Utes can't convert inside the 10 yard line. Joe Phillips connects from 26 yards out to make it 17-7 Utah.
Score: Utah 14, Pittsburgh 7
After falling behind early, Utah scored 14 unanswered points to take a 14-7 lead into halftime against the Pittsburgh Panthers Thursday night in Salt Lake City.
Shaky Smithson fumbled a reception, then later fumbled a punt, setting up the lone Pitt touchdown. The fumbled reception led to a field goal attempt by the Panthers, which was wide left.
Jordan Wynn was 15 of 21 for 161 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. The lone interception came inside the red zone, ending Jordan Wynn's perfect red zone numbers carrying over from last season.
The Utes have limited standout Pitt running back Dion Lewis to only 55 yards on 13 carries.
Time Remaining: 1:06 Second Quarter
Score: Utah 14, Pittsburgh 7
This feels like a completely different game than what we saw in the first quarter. The Utes are flying around on defense, making play after play. Pitt goes three and out and punts; Utah will take over on their own 24 yard line. Key defensive play of the drive was a sack by Junior Tui'one, he has been all over the place today.
Utah's offense moved all the way down to inside the Pitt 5 yard line, but a false start backs the Utes up, and Wynn is intercepted in the end zone. Utes miss opportunity to give themselves some cushion.
Time Remaining: 5:39 Second Quarter
Score: Utah 14, Pittsburgh 7
It is apparent Jordan Wynn has very little rushing ability. In his two attempts so far, he has tried to run to the outside, with the latter including what looked like a spin. Luckily for the Utes, Matt Asiata can run, and he just broke off a 15 yard gain to give the Utes a much needed first down. That was enough to give the Utes momentum, as Jordan Wynn took it from their, orchestrating an 11 play, 80 yard drive, capped with a 19 yard touchdown pass to Jereme Brooks.
Things get even better for the Utes, as the kickoff hits off a Pitt player and Utah's kicker, Nick Marsh, recovers. Wynn connects with DeVonte Christopher for a big 24 yard gain, and the Utes have it first and goal at the 3 yard line. Utes score again as Wynn connects with Jereme Brooks for the touchdown. Score: Utah 14, Pitt 7.
Time Remaining: 12:00 Second Quarter
Score: Pittsburgh 7, Utah 0
Utes kill their drive before it gets started with a penalty that negated a big pass play, but the Utes are able to pin the Panthers deep on their own 6 yardline after a great Sean Sellwood punt.
Shaky Smithson finds a way to make mistake #2 for the Utes, as he muffs the punt, giving Pitt the ball AGAIN deep inside Utah territory, this time at the 28 yard line.
Five plays later, Dion Lewis easily walks into the endzone from 3 yards out for the score. Mistakes: Utah 2, Pitt 0. Score: Pitt 7, Utah 0.
Time Remaining: 6:34 First Quarter
Score: Utah 0, Pittsburgh 0
Pitt won the toss and elects to receive, and college football in Utah is officially underway. Kickoff returned to the 22 yard line, where Pitt will start 1st and 10. Dion Lewis already has a big run under his belt, as he broke off a good 19 yard run off tackle to the right. Utah's defense comes up with a big stop on a Dion Lewis draw play, setting up the first punt of the game. Pitt's punt goes out of bounds at the Utah 12, where we will see Utah's offense for the first time this season.
I had to take a second glance, but the Utes' started out in a 5-wide set inside their own 15. Wynn's first pass of the season is over the middle and complete to Jereme Brooks for an 11 yard gain. Utah commits the first mistake of the game, as Wynn completes a pass to Shaky Smithson, who then fumbles the ball. The Utes try to challenge and lose, so Pitt takes over on the Utes' 38 yard line. Costly mistake for the Utes.
Utes come up with a big stop as Pitt converts a first down, but stalls and settles for a field goal attempt. Wide left on the same uprights that Ross Evans, kicker for TCU, missed two crucial field goals against Utah in 2008.
College football kicks off as two teams square off tonight in a game that has major implications for the direction of this season.
Pitt, ranked 15th in the polls, is the preseason Big East favorite. They feature Dion Lewis, a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate.
The Utes will be playing in their last season as a non-BCS team. They will be leaving the Mountain West Conference to join the Pac-10 next season.
*********************The Utes and Panthers, both rugged and physical squads that missed out on BCS bids last year, will meet at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, where the Utes have won 17 straight games. The streak dates back to a 44-6 drubbing the Utes put on UCLA on September 15, 2007.
National TV? Check. Sold-out stadium? Check. Two ranked teams? Check. The winner of this huge opening-weekend match-up will have a quality non-conference victory to put on its resume.
Keys to the Game for Utah
- Dominate time of possession, importance of ball control - Pitt sophomore RB Dion Lewis is a preseason Heisman candidate - the less he touches the ball, the better.
- Red zone conversion - In Jordan Wynn's five starts last season, the Utes were 21-for-21 in the red zone. That efficiency is a must tonight.
Keys to the Game for Pitt
- Dion Lewis x 100 - The last time the Utes faced an elusive back like Lewis (Rodgers from Oregon State, 2008) it nearly doomed Utah. Pitt should have a similar gameplan - give the ball to Dion.
- Take crowd out of the game early - Another sell out crowd at Rice-Eccles and 6,000 + strong in the MUSS could be the X Factor if the game is close.
MY PREDICTION: Utah 37, Pitt 21. Let me know what you think. Post your predictions/questions in the comment board.
Last Time They Met ...
TEMPE, Ariz.—In the first BCS game ever for a non-BCS school, No. 5 Utah steamrolled over Big East co-champion and No. 19-ranked Pittsburgh, 35-7, in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Led by offensive co-MVPs Alex Smith and Paris Warren, Utah jumped to a 28-0 lead before Pittsburgh's only score of the day. The Ute defense set a bowl record with nine quarterback sacks. Defensive MVP Steve Fifi ta had 5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss and a sack. The Utes enjoyed a home field atmosphere as the vast majority of sold-out Sun Devil Stadium was red-clad. It is believed to the most Ute fans ever to attend a Utah football game.
Utah Miscellaneous Stats
- The Utes have won 17 straight at home, dating back to a Sept. 15, 2007 victory over then 11th-ranked UCLA, which is the second-longest home win streak in school history and the longest since the Utes won 26-straight home games from 1928-1934.
- Utah hopes to snap a winless streak in season-openers against a foe ranked in the A.P. poll. The Utes are 0-5 against A.P.-ranked teams in season openers, with losses to No. 17 UCLA in 1956, No. 14 Nebraska in 1968, No. 20 Texas Tech in 1973, No. 5 Oklahoma in 1977 and No. 11 Nebraska in 1992. In the first game of 2008, the Utes beat a Michigan team that was ranked No. 24 in the coaches' preseason poll.
- Utah has won its last three home games against ranked foes, beating No. 11 UCLA in 2007, No. 11 TCU in 2008 and No. 16 Brigham Young in 2008
- Entering its final year as a member of a non-automatic qualifying conference, Utah has more wins against BCS schools than any other NAQ team. Since the BCS began in 1998, the Utes own 19 wins against BCS opponents and are 19-11 overall. Here are the leaders going into 2010: Utah (19), Navy (18), TCU (17), BYU (15) and Fresno State (14). Utah, the original BCS Buster in 2004, is 2-0 in BCS bowl games with wins over Pitt in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl and Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl.
Pitt Miscellaneous Stats
- Since 1970, the Panthers have opened on the road only 10 times, but are 9-0-1 in those games.
- This will be Pitt's first season opener on the road featuring two Top 25 teams since its national title year in 1976, when the No. 9 Panthers won at No. 11 Notre Dame, 31-10.
- Pitt hasn't opened a season on the road since 1993, when it defeated host Southern Mississippi, 14-10. The Panthers last opened a season in the state of Utah in 1987, when they defeated BYU, 27-17.
- Pitt is 20-7 over its last 27 games, the Panthers' winningest stretch since the 2001-03 seasons when they went 21-6.
- Bolstered by an outstanding defensive front, Pitt led the country in quarterback sacks in 2009, averaging 3.62 sacks per game. The Panthers totaled 47 sacks in 13 games.
- Dion Lewis enjoyed one of the greatest seasons by a running back in Pitt history last year. Lewis finished with 1,799 yards and 17 touchdowns on 325 carries (5.5 avg.), the second highest yardage in Pitt annals. Only the legendary Tony Dorsett, who eclipsed 2,000 yards during his 1976 Heisman Trophy campaign, rushed for more yards in a single season at Pitt.