Toledo sophomore quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, a product of the rugged Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League, was at his best last night, facing the team from his hometown — the University of Pittsburgh.
Gradkowski set UT and MAC records while completing 49 of 62 passes for 461 yards and three touchdowns. He led the Rockets on scoring drives of 98 and 83 yards on their final two possessions.
“Bruce did the thing I knew he was capable of doing,” UT wide receiver Lance Moore said. “He was unbeliveable. We called on him time after time, and he came through all night. It was the kind of performance we needed to beat a Top 10 team.”
Gradkowski, who won the starting job in August, kept his cool all night, and even completed a pass to himself. One of his second half throws was batted high in the air by the Pitt rush, and Gradkowski caught it and moved the ball forward.
“I can't find the words to express what this means,” Gradkowski said. “This was a great night. The fans were in this game from the first snap to the last one, and it looked like no one left. This is a big victory for the program.”
FITZGERALD'S CENTURY: By the end of the first quarter last night, Pitt sophomore wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had his third 100-yard receiving game of the season, and the seventh of his career. He finished with 12 catches for 201 yards and a touchdown. Fitzgerald, who led the Big East with 12 touchdown receptions last year as a freshman, had five entering last night's game. He came into last night's game ranked second in the Big East with 123.5 yards in receptions per game.
HEFFLIN ADDS TO MARK: Toledo senior cornerback Brandon Hefflin, one of three Pittsburgh area starters for the Rockets, picked off a pass in the third quarter last night for his third interception of the season and the 14th of his career. Hefflin has started every game in his college career - a streak that reached 38 straight last night.
BIG CROWD: The visit last night by No. 9 Pittsburgh to the Glass Bowl brought out the seventh largest crowd in stadium history - 31,711. The official capacity of the Glass Bowl is 26,248, but the top 10 crowds at the Glass Bowl have all been well in excess of that number. UT brought in additional bleachers for both end zones for the Pitt game. The stadium record is 36,852 for a 2001 game with Navy.
The largest Glass Bowl crowds:
* MAC record