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(Saturday, October 15th)
Final Score: Utah 26, Pittsburgh 14
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - The Utah Utes dug out of an early hole on the road at Pittsburgh, posting a hard-fought, 26-14 victory at Heinz Field this afternoon.
Utah's defense came up huge, forcing three turnovers and holding Pittsburgh to a meager 120 total yards. The Utes limited Pittsburgh's All-American candidate Ray Graham to a season-low 46 yards on 12 carries. The Panthers struggled to move the ball through the air as well, as quarterbacks Tino Sunseri and Trey Anderson were a combined 9-of-30, for 50 yards and two INTs and were sacked six times.
Utah dominated the time of possession, holding the ball for 37:59 compared to Pittsburgh's 22:01.
Utah tailback John White IV led the way offensively, rumbling for 171 yards on 35 carries, while placekicker Coleman Petersen hit four field goals. Quarterback Jon Hays got his first win as a starter, completing 14-of-23 passes, for 127 yards and one TD.
The hometown Panthers (3-4) jumped all over the visiting Utes (3-3) early.
Utah got on the scoreboard first courtesy of a 23-yard field goal by Petersen.
However, Pittsburgh took the lead on the ensuing kickoff, as Buddy Jackson scored on a 98-yard return. On the next drive, Utah went three and out and had a punt blocked and returned by Pittsburgh's Antwuan Reed for a score.
The momentum switched late in the second quarter though, as a 34-yard Petersen field goal made it 14-6 in favor of Pittsburgh. The Panthers then went three and out deep in their own territory and a short punt by Matt Yoklic provided Utah with great field position at Pittsburgh's 33-yard line.
The Utes capitalized immediately, as Hays hit Luke Matthews on a 33-yard TD strike on the team's first play of the series.
Utah took the lead again early in the third quarter, on Petersen's third field goal of the game, this one a 39-yarder which capped off Utah's nine-play drive to open the half.
It was another Petersen field goal, a 45-yarder midway through the fourth quarter that gave the Utes a 19-14 lead.
Utah iced the game with under two minutes to play, as Derrick Shelby intercepted Trey Anderson and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown to give Utah a 26-14 lead at the 1:12 mark. Utah picked off Anderson again with under a minute to play, preserving the 26-14 win.
The victory improved Utah to 9-0 all-time against current members of the Big East.
10/15 16:25:54 ET