Second-ranked Pitt took a 19-point lead midway through the third period, then withstood a fourth-quarter challenge to defeat Boston College, 29-24, yesterday in Newton, Mass.

Quarterback Dan Marino passed for his 20th and 21th touchdowns of the season and scored on a sneak as the Panthers (7-0) took a 29-10 lead.

But Boston College (2-5) rallied on the passing of quarterback Doug Flutie. The freshman had 23 completions in 42 attempts for 347 yards and threw scoring passes of 30 and 17 yards to Rob Rikard in the fourth period.

The Golden Eagles had several opportunities to pull off an upset, moving to Pitt's 30 and nine in the closing minutes. Pitt held the home team on downs at the 30 and stopped the second rally when Michael Woods recovered a fumble.

"With a young team, one of your problems can be instant success," said Pitt Coach Jackie Sherrill, whose team had four turnovers. "We have a lot of young players who have not paid the price to get where we are. Older players, and certain other players, are playing as well as they can, but some of the younger ones certainly aren't playing the way they did earlier this year."