Maybe Pitt-Penn State is a rivalry after all.
Pittsburgh, 34-point underdogs, gave No. 2 Penn State a scare yesterday for the second straight year. Travis Forney kicked a tiebreaking 24-yard field goal with 1 minute 20 seconds left, and LaVar Arrington blocked a 52-yard field goal attempt with four seconds remaining to preserve a 20-17 victory for the Nittany Lions in State College, Pa.
"If they didn't make a statement that this is a rivalry," Arrington said, "then I don't know what a rivalry is. It was too close, but we still came through."
Penn State Coach Joe Paterno was glad to see his team tested after two blowouts.
"We knew a game like this would come for us because things have come so easy for us," he said. "You've got to be able to win a game like this if you've got aspirations."
Eric McCoo had a seven-yard touchdown run, and Mike Cerimele caught an 11-yard touchdown pass for Penn State (3-0), which visits No. 8 Miami Saturday.
Penn State started the winning drive on its 16-yard line. Kevin Thompson's 51-yard pass to Eddie Drummond put Penn State on Pitt's 11, setting up Forney's go-ahead field goal.
Hank Poteat ran the kickoff to the 50, and John Turman hit Latef Grim for a 25-yard gain, but David Fleischhauer sacked Turman, and Nick Lotz's field goal attempt was blocked by Arrington.
"I should have thrown it away," Turman said of the sack on third down. "It's tough, but the whole team showed a spark. Now we know we can play."
PURDUE 28, NOTRE DAME 23: Mike Rose stopped quarterback Jarious Jackson on second and goal with less than 15 seconds left to preserve the 20th-ranked Boilermakers' victory over the visiting No. 16 Fighting Irish.
Travis Dorsch kicked two fourth-quarter field goals to put the Boilermakers (2-0) ahead, but Jackson led the Irish (1-2) to the Purdue 2-yard line with time running out.
Tony Driver was stopped on first and goal, and Notre Dame called timeout to regroup. Jackson then ran left on an option but was dropped for a nine-yard loss by Rose. The Irish didn't have enough time for another play, similar to last week when Notre Dame lost, 26-22, at Michigan when its two-minute drill came up short.
OHIO ST. 42, UCLA 20: Michael Wiley rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns, and Ken-Yon Rambo caught two scoring passes as the 13th-ranked Buckeyes climbed out of a 10-0 hole to beat the No. 14 Bruins in Columbus, Ohio.
It was the first time in 27 games that UCLA (1-1) had not scored at least 24 points.
Ohio State (1-1) won its 21st straight home opener before 93,283 in only the fourth night game in Ohio Stadium's 78 seasons.
Rambo caught both of his touchdown passes from Steve Bellisari, who came off the bench to complete 11 of 16 for 159 yards without an interception. Starter Austin Moherman was 10 of 19 for 107 yards with one interception.
UCLA was playing without nine starters and four backups who received two-game suspensions for illegally obtaining and using handicapped-parking placards.
FLORIDA 58, CENTRAL FLA. 27: In a big turnaround from opening week, the No. 4 Gators played a game to be proud of. More importantly, they gave Tennessee something to think about.
Doug Johnson connected with Travis Taylor for three of his four touchdown passes, and Florida scored seven touchdowns before halftime in Gainesville, Fla.
Florida (2-0) extended its nation-best home winning streak to 29 games. The streak will be put to its first genuine test of this season Saturday, when defending national champion Tennessee visits The Swamp.
MICHIGAN 37, RICE 3: The No. 6 Wolverines simply were too much for the Owls. They were bigger, stronger, faster and deeper, especially at quarterback.
Drew Henson, perhaps gaining a step in Michigan's quarterback race, scored one touchdown and passed for another in a romp in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Anthony Thomas ran for 87 yards and two touchdowns, and Jeff Del Verne, a walk-on who received a scholarship earlier in the week, kicked three field goals for Michigan (2-0).
Rice (0-2), giving away nearly 40 pounds per man, never had the ball in Michigan territory until late in the fourth quarter when the Owls drove 56 yards for Derek Crabtree's 33-yard field goal with 30 seconds remaining.
WISCONSIN 50, BALL ST. 10: One of Ron Dayne's biggest obstacles in his quest for a national rushing record might be teammate Nick Davis.
Dayne moved 158 yards closer to Ricky Williams's NCAA major-college record, and Davis returned a kickoff for a touchdown as the No. 9 Badgers rolled at home.
Davis's dazzling kickoff and punt returns are shortening the field for the Badgers almost every time he touches the ball. He has two touchdowns on kick returns this season, and he nearly broke a third against the Cardinals.
NEBRASKA 45, CALIFORNIA 0: Eric Crouch became the first Nebraska player since Johnny Rodgers in 1973 to run, throw and catch a pass for a touchdown as the No. 5 Cornhuskers dominated at home.
Crouch, who lost a preseason battle with Bobby Newcombe for the starting quarterback job, led the Cornhuskers' offense despite sitting out most of the first quarter and all of the fourth. He completed 2 of 2 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown, had nine carries for 21 yards and two scores and caught one pass for a 60-yard touchdown.
"Any time I'm on the field I have to take advantage of any opportunity given," said Crouch. "It's a chance to let this team shine, a chance for me to make a big play, a chance to lead the offense down the field."
ALABAMA 37, HOUSTON 10: Just a week ago, the Crimson Tide could barely move the ball. Yesterday, they could barely be stopped.
Shaun Alexander had three touchdowns, and No. 21 Alabama scored three times in just over seven minutes to coast in Birmingham.
"Our first-game jitters were out, and we were mentally focused today," quarterback Andrew Zow said. "That allowed us to move into a rhythm early and get a tempo going."
COLORADO ST. 38, NEVADA 33: Matt Newton threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns as the No. 24 Rams overcame a slow start, then held on at home.
The game was dominated by the offenses as Nevada (0-2) finished with 597 yards, including 429 passing. Colorado State (2-0) gained 529.
Kevin McDougal, who ran for 190 yards for Colorado State last week, finished with 147 before leaving the game with a leg injury in the fourth quarter.
N.C. STATE 38, WILLIAM & MARY 9: The No. 23 Wolfpack and Jamie Barnette produced the offensive tune-up that was needed, building a 31-point halftime lead to cruise at home.
The Wolfpack (3-0) beat Texas and South Carolina the two previous weekends to crack the top 25 but had mustered only a combined 13 first downs and 268 yards and wanted a good showing heading to No. 1 Florida State Saturday.
KANSAS ST. 40, TEMPLE 0: Frank Murphy ran for 149 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries to lead the No. 17 Wildcats at home. Kansas State won in front of a record crowd of 50,624, the result of a 10,000-seat expansion of KSU Stadium.
GEORGIA 24, SOUTH CAROLINA 9: The Gamecocks finally scored the first points of the Lou Holtz era, but not enough to beat the No. 12 Bulldogs in Athens, Ga.
Quincy Carter threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Terrence Edwards, Jasper Sanks rushed for a career-high 130 yards, and Kendrell Bell led the swarming Bulldogs defense.