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College football: Pittsburgh at Virginia
BY TAFT COGHILL JR.
CHARLOTTESVILLE--The offense was unstoppable. The special teams were electric. The defense made stops when it had to.
And that was just the first quarter.
All three phases of the game clicked to near perfection as the University of Virginia football team rolled to its fourth straight victory: a 44-14 home nonconference romp over Pittsburgh in front of a crowd of 60,888 last night in Scott Stadium.
The Cavaliers scored 27 points in the first quarter, the most they've piled up in any frame since a 30-point third-quarter outburst in a 47-26 victory over North Carolina State in 1999.
It was one point less than their season-high for a game this season.
Virginia sophomore quarterback Jameel Sewell completed his first nine passes of the game, with a career-high three touchdown passes included. Sewell (16-of-31, 169 yards, 11 rushes, 63 yards) hadn't thrown more than one touchdown in a game until last night.
The only thing that went wrong for Virginia (4-1) in the first quarter was a Chris Gould missed extra point that came after a 2-yard scoring pass from Sewell to senior tight end Jonathan Stupar, making it 6-0.
The Cavaliers' outstanding start, which included scores on their first five possessions, made the second half almost a formality.
The Panthers (2-3) threatened to make it a closer game when true freshman quarterback Pat Bostick, who made his first career start last night, hooked up with wide receiver Oderick Turner on a 2-yard touchdown pass, pulling Pittsburgh within 30-14 early in the fourth quarter.
However, Virginia running back Cedric Peerman immediately responded. Peerman returned Pittsburgh's kickoff 32 yards to the Cavaliers' 41. He then rushed for 35 yards on the drive, including the game-clinching 13-yard touchdown run that made it 37-14 with 12:06 remaining.
It was the second touchdown run of the game for Peerman (24 rushes, 87 yards), who had a streak of three straight 100-yard games broken.
Cavaliers sophomore Vic Hall provided the final scoring with a 4-yard touchdown run on a fake field goal with 5:25 left in the game.
Virginia had help in dismantling the Panthers.
Pittsburgh made a costly mistake on the first play of the game when it decided to go for an on-side kick.
The decision backfired when a Panthers player touched the ball at Pittsburgh's 39-yard line.