2001 Visit Florida Tangerine Bowl Recap
NC State 19 • Pittsburgh 34
Injuries took a toll on the Wolfpack in its second straight bowl appearance, as the Wolfpack fell to the Big East’s Pittsburgh, 34-19, in the Visit Florida Tangerine Bowl. Heading into the contest, NC State had won four of its last five games, while Pittsburgh had won five consecutive.
Starting cornerback Marcus Hudson did not play in the game after suffering a neck injury in pre-bowl practice, but the list of injured did not stop there. Early in the second quarter, All-American Levar Fisher suffered a fracture of his left forearm, while another starting linebacker, Brian Jamison, also hobbled on and off the field with a foot injury. The offense fared no better, as starting wide receivers Bryan Peterson and Jerricho Cotchery both spent most of the second half on the bench with the sports medicine staff.
The first quarter ended with a 3-3 tie. NC State punted on its first two possessions, while Pittsburgh was held to a field goal after a first-and-goal. The Pack’s third possession culminated with a 32-yarder from Adam Kiker after a drive that started at the Pack’s own 48-yardline.
The Panthers did the damage in the second frame, however, scoring touchdowns on all three of its possessions that quarter on 80, 98 and 70 yard drives. Wide receiver Antonio Bryant did most of the damage, tallying all of his seven receptions for 101 yards in the first half. NC State’s only other score in the first half game when freshman Greg Golden took a kickoff return back 90 yards to hit paydirt, the ninth-longest kickoff return in school history.
The Pack defense buckled down in the second half, allowing a field goal on Pitt’s first possession of the half and then giving up just one score the rest of the way, but the offense could only respond with nine points.
Barely into the fourth quarter, Philip Rivers capped off a 63-yard drive with a five-yard pass to Dovonte Edwards, who tallied a season-high eight grabs, but Kiker missed the extra point. After forcing Pitt to punt, NC State drove right back down the field, this time covering 72 yards as Kiker connected on a 19-yard field goal.
Pittsburgh was forced to punt on its next possession and momentum seemed to be all on the Wolfpack’s side as Rivers and company got the ball at their own 20 yardline. However, a blindside hit on Rivers caused him to fumble and the Panthers’ Tyre Young took it in for a 16-yard score with just over six minutes remaining.
PITT Lotz 27 FG, 10:36, 1st