Pittsburgh beats Akron 24-7
AKRON, Ohio (AP) Nate Peterman passed for a career-high 148 yards and threw his first college touchdown Saturday as Pittsburgh pulled away for a 24-7 victory over the Zips.
Mid-American Conference member Akron stunned the Panthers 21-10 last Sept. 27 at Heinz Field, but could not repeat the feat at home.
''Last year, it was the upset, so this year we had to get them back,'' Pitt defensive end Rori Blair said. ''That's all we talked about - we want to eat, we want to beat them - because we were so hungry. Now that we got Akron back, we want to eat all the way to the ACC championship.''
Tennessee transfer Peterman completed 12 of 17 attempts for 148 yards, including an 18-yard score to J.P. Holtz, after relieving starter Chad Voytik in the second quarter.
Voytik went 6 of 8 for 32 yards, but Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi said he will continue to use a two-quarterback rotation next week at Iowa.
''I think we've got two really good quarterbacks, so why wouldn't use both of them to help us,'' Narduzzi said. ''Last week (in a 45-37 win over Youngstown State), we went with Chad More. Today, we just felt like Nathan was a little hotter.''
Redshirt freshman Qadree Ollison rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown as Pitt (2-0) outplayed the Zips (0-2) at waterlogged InfoCision Stadium. A soaking rain began two hours before kickoff and continued the entire game.
The uncomfortable conditions did little to dampen the spirits of the fans, many of whom made the two-hour drive from Pittsburgh and chanted ''Let's go, Pitt'' after big plays. The attendance of 23,425 was the second largest in stadium history.
''That was Steel City weather right there, and we loved it,'' Narduzzi said, smiling. ''That's how you win football games, by being locked in, and focused, and excited on the sideline the entire game.
''You saw the result. We're 2-0 and we beat a pretty good football team today.''
Blair, a sophomore, and junior wide receiver Tyler Boyd both returned from one-game suspensions after being charged with driving under the influence in separate incidents.
Boyd made a game-high 11 receptions for 95 yards. Freshman running back Darrin Hall added 52 rushing yards as the Panthers outgained Akron 307-110.
''We talked all summer about coming out and having a great game against Pitt, but the weather made it almost impossible to have a good showing,'' Zips coach Terry Bowden said. ''I might have watched the game at home, myself, if I didn't have to coach it.''
Akron kicked off its fourth season under Bowden with a 41-3 loss at No. 19 Oklahoma on Sept. 5. It managed 10 first downs against the Sooners and had eight against Pitt.
The Zips took a 7-3 lead on Conor Hundley's 32-yard TD run in the second, but Peterman answered with an eight-play, 73-yard drive to put the Panthers in front for good. The junior found Holtz on the goal line with 44 seconds left in the half.
''We really needed some points and that two-minute drill was big,'' Peterman said. ''It gave us a lot of juice and enthusiasm in the locker room, and that carried over the rest of the game.''
Ollison left the field twice briefly with leg cramps, but managed to log 21 carries. He rushed for 207 yards on Sept. 5 against the Penguins after reigning ACC Player of the Year James Conner suffered a season-ending right knee injury.
Akron sophomore Tra'Von Chapman, who spent one semester with the Panthers before being dismissed from the program, went 4 for 14 passing for 29 yards. He also rushed 10 times for minus-22 yards.
AP College Football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org