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Remembering Pitt: The rivalry is back on!

UConn and Pitt had a competitive football series back in the Big East days, with the Huskies holding a 5-4 edge all-time.

Pittsburgh v Connecticut Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Last week, UConn football announced a future series against the University of Pittsburgh for 2027 and 2028, reviving a solid rivalry from the Big East. The Huskies will travel to Acrisure Stadium to face off against the Panthers on October 30, 2027, and will host them the following year at Rentschler Field.

The last time these two programs faced off was in 2012, before Pitt left the Big East to join the ACC. With the Huskies holding a 5-4 advantage in their nine all-time meetings, the series will bring back memories of a competitive rivalry in the now-defunct football league.

Here’s a review of what went down in the last nine meetings.

Game #1 – September 30, 2004

In their first season as members of Big East football, the Huskies hosted the Panthers for the first time ever. For a UConn program that had just made the jump to FBS (then Division 1-A), getting an opponent like Pitt on the schedule regularly, the program of Tony Dorsett, Dan Marino, and Mark May, was a pretty big deal.

In a close contest, the scoring got started with a pick-six off of the infamous Tyler Palko to get the Huskies up 7-0 early. Kicker Matt Nuzie hit three field goals and senior QB Dan Orlovsky hit Keron Henry for the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter.

UConn came out on top 29-17 for their first win in the Big East Conference. Huskies’ running back Cornell Brockington had a stand-out performance with 185 rushing yards and a touchdown. The Huskies ended up finishing 8-4 that year, winning three straight to close it out, including the Motor City Bowl against Toledo.

NCAA Football - Connecticut vs Pittsburgh - November 12, 2005 Photo by Sean Brady/Getty Images

Game #2 – 11/12/2005

UConn’s offense sputtered in their second meeting. Despite the return of then-starting quarterback Matt Bonislawski after separating his right shoulder, UConn ended the night with three turnovers as Pitt dominated this matchup to even the series with a 24-0 victory.

The loss capped off a four-game losing streak for UConn as its season ended with a 5-6 record.

Game #3 –11/11/2006

In an exciting contest that went down to the wire, the Huskies ended up victorious after overcoming a 14-point deficit in the 4th quarter to force overtime.

UConn tied it up after two fourth-quarter touchdown passes by D.J. Hernandez, who rushed for 130 yards, threw for 164 yards, and finished the game with four total touchdowns as well as the 2-point conversion to give UConn a stunning victory, 46-45, after a Donald Brown touchdown.

This would be the Huskies’ first conference win of the season. They lost three straight to finish 4-8 on the year.

Game #4 – 9/22/2007

Coming into the game with a 3-0 record, the Huskies were looking to remain undefeated heading into conference play. With an aggressive defense, UConn managed to convert three turnovers by Pitt’s backup quarterbacks into 17 points, including a pick-six by linebacker Lawrence Wilson.

Led by quarterback Tyler Lorenzen, the Huskies won in impressive fashion 34-14 despite being outgained 349-289. They went on to finish 9-4, with big wins over Louisville, No. 11 USF, and Syracuse before losing the Meineke Car Care Bowl to Wake Forest.

Pitt-UCONN Photo by Stephen Dunn/Hartford Courant/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Game #5 – 12/6/2008

The Huskies were briefly ranked this season, starting 5-0 before losses at North Carolina and Rutgers. They went into the Pitt game with a 7-4 record.

In a rather disappointing show-out by Lorenzen, who threw for only 80 yards and two interceptions, the Huskies were dominated by Pitt. Bill Stull threw for 141 yards and two touchdowns, and with the help of running back LeSean McCoy’s 95 rushing yards, the Panthers cruised to a 34-10 victory in the final game of the regular season.

UConn would end the season 8-5 after beating Buffalo in the International Bowl.

Game #6 – 10/10/2009

Despite two interceptions from Stull, Pitt came out on top in a back-and-forth contest that came down to the last minute. After Pitt rallied from 15 points behind, Dan Hutchins kicked an 18-yard field goal to cap off the biggest comeback of its Dave Wannstedt Era as Pitt won 24-21.

The next week, UConn’s program would be changed forever by the killing of Jasper Howard on UConn’s campus after the Huskies beat Louisville. Football was far from the most important thing on anyone’s mind, and UConn would end up losing its next three games by 10 total points before winning their final three of the regular season and the Papa John’s Dot Com Bowl in Birmingham, Alabama to finish 8-5.

Pittsburgh v Connecticut Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Game #7 – 11/11/2010

With the series now tied up between the two teams, the Huskies had a chance to regain the lead at home.

In what shaped up to be another close matchup, UConn’s offense was led by running back Jordan Todman, who rushed for 222 yards on 37 carries. His key 4th down conversion helped seal the win for the Huskies, 30-28. It was the second of five straight wins for the Huskies as they ended their regular season 8-4.

UConn went on to make the Fiesta Bowl after earning a share of the Big East crown and winning the tiebreaker to play in the New Year’s Day bowl game.

Game #8 – 10/26/2011

Heading back to Pittsburgh, Panthers quarterback Tino Sunseri threw for 419 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 40 yards and a touchdown to tie this series back up.

UConn’s offense was led by quarterback Johnny McEntee, who threw 193 yards and 2 touchdowns, but the Huskies struggled on defense. Pitt ended up defeating UConn 35-20 in Paul Pasqualoni’s first season as head coach, which ended with a 5-7 record.

Game #9 – 11/9/2012

In their last matchup as opponents in the Big East, the Huskies returned home to host the Panthers. It was the battle of the offenses to see who would remain on top and secure the series lead. Led by running back Lyle McCombs, who ran for 120 yards and a touchdown, the Huskies were victorious, 24-17. They would go on to finish 5-7 again in Pasqualoni’s second season.


This was a really great series, one that UConn fans can all look forward to resuming in 2027!