Utah beats No. 15 Pittsburgh in OT

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- After being unable to hold an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter, Utah's defense redeemed itself in overtime.

Utah freshman Brian Blechen intercepted a pass for on the first play of overtime, setting up Joe Phillips for a 21-yard field goal that gave the Utes a 27-24 victory against No. 15 Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

Pittsburgh had rallied with 14 points in the fourth quarter, forcing overtime on Dan Hutchins' 30-yard field goal on the final play of regulation.

But after Utah won the toss and elected to play defense, Blechen quickly doused any hopes the Panthers had of completing the comeback when he bolted in front of Pitt receiver Mike Shanahan and grabbed Tino Sunseri's pass at the sideline.

Jordan Wynn passed for 283 yards with three touchdowns for Utah, including two to Jereme Brooks.

Wynn's third TD was a short pass over the middle that DeVonte Christopher broke for a 61-yard touchdown that put Utah up 24-13 with 7:59 left to play.

The more comfortable margin didn't even last a minute.

The Panthers struck back on a 44-yard pass from Sunseri to Jon Baldwin, who was all alone inside the 10-yard line because of a breakdown in Utah's secondary. Sunseri went to Baldwin again for the 2-point conversion that pulled the Panthers within a field goal at 24-21 with 7:11 left to play.

Utah wasn't able to run enough time off the clock to keep the Panthers from one final drive, which Hutchins capped with the tying field goal despite having to kick the ball three times.

His first attempt went through the uprights, but Utah coach Kyle Whittingham called time out just before the snap and Hutchins had to kick again.

Whittingham did the same thing on the re-kick, which was wide and had fans and Utah players celebrating before they learned there was yet another kick to come. This time Hutchins was back on target and tied it at 24.

But Blechen got the momentum and the ball back for the Utes with his pick in overtime and Utah to played it safe from there. The Utes never attempted another pass, running it down inside the 10 and leaving Phillips with a chip shot to win it.

Utah won its 18th straight, and other than a fourth quarter breakdown, did it mostly with defense. The Utes allowed few easy yards to Pitt star Dion Lewis, who ran for 1,799 yards last year as a freshman. He finished with 75 yards on 25 carries.

Utah held Pitt to just 60 yards in the second and third quarters combined, but the Panthers' defense kept the Utes from building much of a lead with some timely stops of their own.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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Doug Alden sports writer


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