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Big East: Texas A&M converts on Pitt's PAT woes

©Associated Press
September 8, 2002

PITTSBURGH -- A narrow victory far from home Saturday wasn't enough to end Texas A&M's muddled quarterback situation. Pittsburgh was searching for answers, too, after botching two extra points that cost them a possible upset.

No. 20 Texas A&M needed two quarterbacks and two long completions to Terrence Murphy to open a two-touchdown lead and the Aggies held on 14-12.

Rod Rutherford struggled for three quarters before carrying Pitt to two touchdowns in the fourth. But the Panthers couldn't convert after either score.

Two penalties led to a missed kick after the first touchdown, and after the second Rutherford threw incomplete on a 2-point try.

"That was difficult to lose that way," Pitt safety Shawntae Spencer said.

Pitt got the ball back once more but Rutherford fumbled on third-and-17 from his 29 with 11 seconds left. Randall Webb recovered for A&M.

Derek Farmer scored twice on short-range runs for the Aggies, who had just enough offense to win but not enough to prevent what quickly is becoming an early-season quarterback dilemma.

Mark Farris, a three-year starter fewer than 100 yards away from 5,000 for his career, was ineffective in the first half and gave way to Dustin Long.

Though Long also had trouble getting anything going, Farris never returned.

Farris set up Farmer's 1-yard scoring run in the second quarter with a 35-yard completion to Murphy, despite badly underthrowing the pass.

In the third quarter, Long hit Murphy for completions of 37 and 16 yards to set up Farmer's 3-yard touchdown.

Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum, whose offense was ninth-worst in Division I-A last season, said he's still not ready to choose a starter. Long was 9-of-18 for 119 yards and Farris was 5-of-13 for 80 yards, making him 18-of-45 in two games.

"I decided to go with Dustin Long in the second half because our numbers weren't good," Slocum said. "I think we needed to use another combination. It's early in the year, so I think we can change it up and compare how we perform."

Rutherford had an even more miserable first half than Farris, throwing for 26 yards. Then he suddenly got into a rhythm by going 7-for-7 during an 84-yard scoring drive, capped by his 1-yard sneak early in the fourth.

J.B. Gibboney twice kicked the extra point, only to have both successful conversions waved off by illegal shift penalties. Gibboney missed his third try from 30 yards.

* * *

BOSTON COLL. 34, STANFORD 27: Derrick Knight's 12-yard touchdown run with 36 seconds remaining lifted the host Eagles.

The loss spoiled the debut of Stanford coach Buddy Teevens, who took over when Tyrone Willingham left for Notre Dame.

Stanford led 27-17 late in the third quarter. Knight, who lost the starting job during preseason, came off the bench and ran for 104 yards on 21 carries.

He capped a five-play, 65-yard drive by bursting up the middle for the winning score.

Michael Sgroi's second field goal, a 24-yarder early in the third, gave Stanford a 20-17 lead.

Linebacker Michael Craven then returned an interception 33 yards for a score, giving the Cardinal a 10-point edge with 1:44 left in the third quarter.

Boston College cut it to 27-24 on Knight's 10-yard touchdown run with 12:15 left after linebacker Josh Ott recovered a fumble and returned it to the Cardinal 10.

After BC held Stanford the next series, Sandro Sciortino kicked a career-best 40-yard field goal, tying it at 27 with 6:27 to go.

* * *

BUFFALO 34, RUTGERS 11: Randall Secky threw three touchdowns to Andre Forde for the visiting Bulls.

Forde scored on catches of 12, 8 and 4 yards and Aaron Leeper rushed for 153 yards and another touchdown as Buffalo won for the sixth time since moving up to Division I-A four years ago.

After giving up 508 yards in a loss to Lehigh last week, Buffalo held Rutgers and new quarterback Ted Trump to 221 yards in total offense, including 99 in the first three quarters.

Trump threw a 5-yard touchdown to Chris Baker and a two-point conversion to L.J. Smith, but that came after Buffalo scored 27 straight points to take a 27-3 lead early in the fourth quarter.

The loss was the sixth straight over two seasons and 11th in 13 games since Greg Schiano became the Scarlet Knights' coach.

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