Ponderous Pitt rumbled 50 yards to a second-quarter touchdown yesterday, then played rubber-band defense the final quater to conquer Florida State, 7-3.
The Seminoles, who had not scored fewer than three touchdown in any of their previous six games, rolled up 331 yards but were unable to penetrate Pitt's end zone.
Sophomore defensive end Hugh Green made the big plays for the Panthers in the final quarter, inciting a chant of "Huuuuugh! Huuuugh!" from the homecoming crowd of 55,107. Florida State drove to first downs at the Pitt 19 and 25 without tangible result.
The first time, Green blasted quarterback Jimmy Jordan as he unloaded a second-down pass and Jordan, probably hearing footsteps, followed with two bad passes that aborted a 70-yard drive.
The next time, Green racked up fullback Mark Lyles at the Pitt 22 and recovered the resulting fumble to stop a 47-yard march.
Another Pitt defensive hero was linebacker Al Chesley, out of Washington's Eastern High, who made nine tackles, two for losses totalling 14 yards.
"We had something to prove today," Chesley said. "People have been on the defense all week long. We got a pass rush today. That hurt us last week against, Notre Dame (Pitt's only defeat) when we never even got or ands in the quarterback's face.
"I didn't think any team in the country could hold us to three points," said Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden. "Pitt proved something to me today. That's the best defense I've seen this year."
Pitt played a conservative veer offense that drew boos from the crowd but satisfied its coach, Jackie Sherill, "except for those darn turnover (three lost fumbles and an interception). They just kill an offense. We moved the ball (297) yards), but we can't make errors like that week after week and get away with it."
Pitt's winning drive took eight plays, all on the ground, after a short Florida State punt gave the Panthers possession at the 50. Joe Gasparovic's 58-yard boot helped Pitt gain 27 yards on the exchange of punts. Halfback Fred Jacobs, who picked up 84 yards in 22 carries, covered the final 13 yards around left end.
Florida State scored in the first period a 26-yard field goal by David Cappelen, following a Pitt fumble at the Panthers' 49. He missed earlier from 21 yards, after another Pitt bobble.