Mountaineers Drub Panthers

Steve Hartman, CBS NEWS correspondent. Photo: John Filo/CBS
John Filo/CBS

Marc Bulger threw four first-half touchdowns and Avon Cobourne ran for 210 yards and three scores as West Virginia beat Pittsburgh 52-21 Saturday, eliminating the Panthers from bowl consideration.

Despite its second straight lopsided win in the Backyard Brawl, West Virginia (4-7, 3-4 Big East) finished tied with the 1986 and 1990 Mountaineer teams for the worst record under 20th-year coach Don Nehlen.

Pittsburgh (5-6, 2-5) managed just 232 total yards two weeks after beating Notre Dame 37-27 to put itself in contention for its second bowl in three years.

Related Links

Game summary

  • Alumni Tracker
  • Heisman Watch
  • Bulger, a Pittsburgh native who has been hurt all season, had his third straight stellar performance against the team that shunned him out of high school.

    Returning from a thumb injury sustained Nov. 6 against Virginia Tech, Bulger completed 20 of 30 passes for 331 yards in his career finale before being pulled early in the fourth quarter.

    He appeared unconcerned about matching last year's 409 yards and school-record six TDs against Pitt in a 52-14 win.

    Bulger let Cobourne take over after throwing for 298 yards in the first half and leading West Virginia to touchdowns on five of its first seven possessions.

    Cobourne, who had a 17-yard TD run in the first quarter, scored on runs of 4 and 3 yards 3:23 apart in the third quarter for a 49-14 lead. On the latter touchdown he got the ball all four plays and ran for 60 yards.

    Pitt, which held Notre Dame to 72 yards rushing two weeks ago, watched Cobourne seMountaineer Field and freshman single-game and single-season rushing records.

    Bulger, holder of 25 school records, became the Big East's career leader in completions with 571, breaking the mark of 558 held by Temple's Henry Burris from 1993 to 1996.

    Bulger threw the longest TD pass of his career on West Virginia's second series, a 77-yarder to Jerry Porter for a 7-0 lead.

    Carlos Osegueda caught his first career TD pass from 5 yards out for a 21-7 lead midway through the second quarter.

    West Virginia's next two scoring drives took a combined 1:18. Bulger found Porter down the right sideline for a 54-yard TD, then hit Anthony Becht over the middle for a 34-yarder for a 35-7 lead 3:01 before halftime.

    Pittsburgh's John Turman was held to 156 yards passing, 100 under the team's Big East-leading average. He was intercepted twice in West Virginia territory.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed