Rutgers got a career game from its starting quarterback, while Pitt suffered a scare when its starter went down with an injury serious enough to have him taken off the field on a stretcher.
Mike Teel torched the Big East’s top-ranked pass defense by completing 14 of 21 passes for a career-high 361 yards and a school-record six touchdowns, as the Scarlet Knights rolled to a 54-34 victory over the No. 17 Panthers in a Big East game before 51,161 Saturday afternoon at Heinz Field.
Bill Stull suffered an apparent neck injury with five minutes, 59 seconds left in the third quarter when he was knocked backward by a Rutgers defender only to have his head snapped forward after colliding with LeSean McCoy on a pass play. Stull raised his left arm and made a fist as he was carted off.
That was only part of the high drama of a high-scoring game that saw Rutgers (3-5, 2-2) snap the five-game winning streak of the first-place Panthers (5-2, 2-1). Pitt lost at home for the second time this season.
Teel, a senior, passed for 201 yards in the first quarter and had 311 by halftime. He threw for touchdowns of 60 and 36 yards to Tim Brown, 79, 7 and 26 yards to Kenny Britt and 3 yards to tight end Kevin Brock. Rutgers, which entered the game with the Big East’s worst scoring offense at 16.7 points per game, added scoring runs of 8 and 4 yards by Kordell Young in the fourth quarter.
Pitt was led by McCoy, as the sophomore tailback notched his fourth consecutive 100-yard game with a game-high 146 yards on 26 carries and scored a career-high four touchdowns on runs of 33, 22, 1 and 1.
McCoy cut Pitt’s deficit to 34-31 with 8:58 remaining in the third quarter, then forced the Scarlet Knights to punt. But Aaron Berry fumbled it, and Rutgers recovered at the Pitt 36. Teel hit Brown for a touchdown on the next play for a 40-31 lead, and Pitt never got closer.
Pat Bostick replaced Stull, who had completed 17 of 23 passes for a career-high 283 yards. Bostick completed a 34-yard pass to tight end Nate Byham, but his next attempt was intercepted by Rutgers linebacker Kevin Malast, who returned it 74 yards to the Pitt 8.
Young scored on the next play for a 48-31 lead.
Pitt added a 40-yard field goal by Conor Lee – who also made 43-yarder after a 45-yard attempt hit the right upright – to cut it to 48-34 before Rutgers used a nine-play, 67-yard drive capped by Young’s 4-yard run for a 54-34 lead.