2011 Iowa Hawkeyes Football

Big Ten football fans

Iowa Hawkeyes vs Pittsburgh Panthers Football Recap

Iowa 31, Pittsburgh 27


The more things change, the more they stay the same. Whenever a meaningful achievement sits within the grasp of the Pittsburgh Panthers, the most snake-bitten program in the Big East – and one that’s now headed for the Atlantic Coast Conference – just can’t close the door. Pittsburgh blew a three-touchdown lead against Cincinnati in the de facto Big East championship game of 2009. The Panthers have squandered advantageous positions against many other opponents over the years. Now, under a new coach who had hoped to author a different narrative in Western Pennsylvania, the same problems have sadly yet undeniably persisted for Pitt.

The biggest fourth-quarter comeback in school history allowed the Iowa Hawkeyes to edge the visiting Pitt Panthers on Saturday afternoon and avoid a two-game losing streak. The moment of glory for Iowa, though, was Pittsburgh’s heartbreak, and since Iowa had already absorbed a tough loss against Iowa State, this game did more to ruin Pittsburgh’s season than it did to lift up the Hawkeyes. Make no mistake, Iowa will take great satisfaction and pleasure from this Houdini act. The point being emphasized, though, is that the feeling of misery in Pittsburgh’s camp will exceed the joy Iowa feels right now.  

The Hawkeyes trailed 27-10 before quarterback James Vandenberg led a furious comeback.  Vandenberg threw for 162 yards in the fourth quarter, and finished with 399 yards. During the fourth quarter, Vandenberg threw a touchdown pass to Keenan Davis to make the score 27-17 in favor of Pittsburgh. Vandenberg then hit Kevonte Martin-Manley for a pair of touchdowns, including the 22-yard game-winner with 2:51 to play.

Pittsburgh took its biggest lead of the day, 24-3, with 3:11 left in the third quarter, when Tino Sunseri hit Drew Carswell for a four-yard touchdown.  Vandenberg's one-yard run cut the deficit to 24-10, setting the stage for the home team’s stunning rally inside a delirious Kinnick Stadium . Sunseri completed 22 of 33 passes for 255 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  He was intercepted twice. Pitt running back Ray Graham ran for 97 yards on 22 carries, and caught six passes for 50 yards. Devin Street led the Panthers in receiving with 138 yards on seven catches, including a 66-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Davis caught 10 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown for the Hawkeyes.  Marvin McNutt added 112 yards on eight receptions. Vandenberg's completed 31 of 48 pass attempts.  He threw all three of his touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, and was intercepted once. Marcus Coker led the Hawkeyes s a rusher with 86 yards on 23 carries.

Find a great selection of Iowa Hawkeyes apparel & merchandise online in our Team Fan Shop and find the Big Ten Football Scores here!

By Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer



> More 2009 College Football Previews from CollegeSports-fans.com