Texas 32, Pittsburgh 27
HOUSTON (AP) _ Bret Stafford threw three touchdown passes, including first-quarter bombs of 77 and 60 yards to Tony Jones, in leading Texas to a 32-27 victory over 19th-ranked Pittsburgh in the Bluebonnet Bowl Thursday night.
Jones’ touchdown catches helped him set a Bluebonnet record for receiving yards and gave the Longhorns a 14-7 lead only 2 1/2 minutes into the 29th game in the Astrodome.
Jones needed only three catches to eclipse the receiving record of 163 yards set by James Ingram of Baylor in 1963 and tied by Gerald McNeil of Baylor in 1983. Jones’ other catch was a 36-yarder with 8:05 left in the first quarter.
Jones finished with 242 yards on eight catches. His 77-yard catch on the first play of the game also was a Bluebonnet Bowl record.
Stafford hit 20 of 34 passes for 368 yards, breaking the record of 303 yards set by Purdue’s Mark Hermann in 1979.
Pittsburgh’s Craig ″Ironhead″ Heyward got 136 yards in 30 carries, his 12th consecutive 100-yard performance, but his running couldn’t overcome the Longhorn air attack.
The surprising Texas passing show, along with a 33-yard field goal by Wayne Clements, gave the Longhorns a 17-7 halftime lead.
Texas added a 49-yard field goal by Clements and fourth-quarter touchdowns on Stafford’s 14-yard pass to Gabriel Johnson and a 24-yard run by Eric Metcalf.
The Panthers also had some spectacular plays. A 4-yard scoring run by Heyward was set up by a 45-yard kickoff return by Billy Owens and a 45-yard halfback pass from Bill Osborn to Reggie Williams.
Pittsburgh freshman Larry Wanke came off the bench to throw three touchdown passes, the first of his college career. He threw 40 yards to Hosea Hurd in the third quarter and 43 yards to Michael Stewart and 15 yards to Osborn in the fourth quarter.
The last touchdown came with but nine seconds left, and Texas recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.
Wanke completed eight of 20 passes for 172 yards and had three intercepted.
After Wanke’s second touchdown pass, the Panthers recovered an onsides kick to retain possession. But three plays later, Texas’ Greg Eaglin intercepted a Wanke pass with 6:25 left in the game.
Wanke was intercepted again with 2:12 to go by Texas’ Paul Behrman.
Metcalf was held to six yards rushing at the half but he broke loose in the second half and finished with 95 yards in 18 carries.
It took only three plays for the teams to put 14 points on the scoreboard.
Stafford hit Jones on the sidelines on the first play of the game and the 5-foot-7 sophomore got by cornerback Gary Richard and ran untouched to the end zone.
After Heyward’s touchdown, the Longhorns went ahead on Jones’ 60-yarder, this time sidestepping Richard for the score.
Most of the second quarter was played in Pittsburgh’s end of the field but the Longhorns managed only a Clements field goal.
The half ended on a controversial note when Metcalf fumbled away a punt. But the play was ordered repeated when an official said there was an inadvertant whistle on the play.
Texas also got a break in the second quarter when Pitt’s Teryl Austin was flagged for roughing the kicker as Clements missed a 33-yard field goal. Austin made up for that mistake moments later by intercepting a Stafford pass at the Pitt goal line.