Pitt had many chances in the first half, but still trails Connecticut, 7-3, at halftime at Heinz Field.
With Pitt leading 3-0, Washington native Cody Endres connected with senior wide receiver Marcus Easley for a 79-yard touchdown pass with 2:46 to play in the first half to put Connecticut ahead 7-3.
Pitt’s only points came on a 42-yard field goal by Dan Hutchins eight minutes into the game.
Pitt quarterback Bill Stull has completed 11 of 18 pass attempts for 117 yards and one interception. He connected with 11 of his first 13 attempts, but went 0 for 5 with an interception in the final five attempts of the first half. Endres is 11 for 15 for 155 yards and one touchdown.
The Panthers wasted multiple scoring chances in the first half. On Pitt’s first possession, Stull hit a wide-open Dion Lewis for an apparent 43-yard touchdown pass, but the freshman tailback dropped the ball and Pitt was forced to punt.
On Pitt’s next possession, with the ball at the Connecticut 33, wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin got behind the defense, but Stull’s pass was late and UConn cornerback Robert McClain broke up the play. Four plays later, Pitt settled for Hutchins’ field goal.
In the second quarter, Pitt drove to a first-and-goal at the Connecticut 3, but Stull’s third-down pass was intercepted in the end zone by McClain.
Connecticut took over at its own 20 and drove to the Pitt 11. But on the 13th play of the drive, blitzing Pitt linebackers Greg Williams and Max Gruder sacked Endres, forcing a fumble, and defensive end Greg Romeus recovered at the Pitt 32. Pitt lost three yards on three plays and punted. On Connecticut’s first play, Easley beat Ricky Gary for a 79-yard touchdown.