Virginia ends Fitzgerald#039;s streak

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 28, 2003


- Virginia made it 2-for-2 in the Continental Tire Bowl, using solid defense to snap Heisman Trophy runner-up Larry Fitzgerald's record touchdown streak at 18 games in a 23-16 victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Matt Schaub threw for 244 yards and a touchdown - the 56th of his career, a Virginia record - to earn the MVP award in the second-year bowl.

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The Cavaliers (8-5) beat West Virginia here last season, and marked the sweep by running as a team to the far end zone and celebrating with the Virginia-dominated crowd.

Fitzgerald, in what may have been his final game for Pitt, was held to five catches for 77 yards and failed to score a touchdown for the first time since Oct 12, 2002, against Notre Dame. His 18 consecutive games with a touchdown was an NCAA record.

Virginia prevented the Panthers (8-5) from even looking in Fitzgerald's direction very often - they only threw to him six times in the game - using a solid pass-rush that forced a costly fumble by quarterback Rod Rutherford.

Connor Hughes kicked a 39-yard field goal to give Virginia a 23-16 lead with 2:28 to play. But with Fitzgerald on the field, it seemed almost a given that the Panthers would be able to move down the field.

They got 45 yards from TuTu Ferguson on the ensuing kickoff, but Rutherford was sacked by Brennan Schmidt on the first play and Kai Parham recovered on the Pitt 37.

The Cavaliers then put the game away with a 17-yard run by Wali Lundy that moved them to the 17-yard line and allowed them to run out the clock.