IOWA CITY (KDKA/AP) – The Pittsburgh Panthers appeared poised to begin the season 3-0, but an implosion in the fourth quarter resulted in defeat.
Up 27-10 with just over 12 minutes to play, the win seemed in the bag for the Panthers (2-1). However, 17 unanswered points gave Iowa (2-1) a 31-27 win.
The comeback was the largest in Iowa’s history. James Vandenberg threw for 399 yards – including 162 in the fourth quarter. He completed the Hawkeyes’ rally with a 22-yard TD pass to Kevonte Martin-Manley with 2:51 left.
Pitt had one final gasp, but Tino Sunseri was picked off by Micah Hyde with 1:41 left to seal the win for the Hawkeyes.
Sunseri completed 23 of his 33 passes for 255 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
The Panthers jumped out to a 10-0 lead after the first quarter, and held a 10-3 edge at halftime.
In the third quarter, Ronald Jones hooked up with Cameron Saddler for a 30-yard touchdown strike to extend the lead to 17-3. Minutes later, Sunseri found Drew Carswell for a 4-yard touchdown to put Pitt ahead 24-3.
After finding the end zone three times in each of Pitt’s first two games, Ray Graham did not find paydirt on Saturday. He still managed to rush for 97 yards and haul in six passes for another 50 yards.
Devin Street led the way for Pitt receivers with seven catches for 138 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
The Panthers will return to Heinz Field for a matchup with Notre Dame at noon on Sept. 24.