Penn State Beats Pitt for 9th Win in Row, 22-17

From Associated Press

Penn State quarterback Tony Sacca passed for 187 yards and rushed for 113 more Saturday to lead the No. 11 Nittany Lions to a 22-17 comeback victory over Pittsburgh in the 87th meeting between the intrastate rivals.

Sacca, who completed 16 of 32 passes, connected with David Daniels on a 16-yard touchdown pass play with 6:53 left to give Penn State its ninth consecutive win.

Penn State, which lost its first two games to Texas and USC, improved to 9-2 and earned a berth opposite No. 8 Florida State in the Blockbuster Bowl on Dec. 28 at Miami, Fla.

It will be Penn State's 21st bowl game in 25 seasons under Coach Joe Paterno, who put in the Nittany Lions' claim for the national championship.

"If Florida State beats Florida (on Saturday) and we beat Florida State and Notre Dame beats Colorado (in the Orange Bowl) we can yell as loud as (No. 2) Miami can yell," Paterno said.

Pitt (3-7-1) had taken a 17-16 lead with 8:48 left when Darnell Dickerson, a quarterback-turned-wide receiver, took a lateral from quarterback Alex Van Pelt and connected with Olanda Truitt on a 63-yard touchdown pass play.

Tison Thomas returned the ensuing kickoff 59 yards to the Pitt 35. Gary Brown carried three times to the 16 before Sacca passed to Daniels for the deciding touchdown.

Craig Fayak kicked field goals of 26, 22 and 31 yards for Penn State.

Sacca carried six times and had scrambles of 50 and 55 yards as Penn State improved its record in the series to 45-41-1.

Van Pelt completed 22 of 44 for 246 yards but had four passes intercepted. Truitt caught five passes for 117 yards.

Penn State opened the scoring in the first quarter after Frank Giannetti recovered a fumble at the Nittany Lions' 46.

Sacca passed 14 and 19 yards to Daniels as Penn State moved to the Pitt 13. Three plays later, Fayak kicked his 13th field goal of the season.

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