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Published: Monday, 9/22/2003

Gradkowski makes mark in 4th start


When he was in high school, Toledo's sophomore quarterback Bruce Gradkowski passed the ball often enough and with enough success to move by some pretty good quarterbacks in his league's record book.

After just four games as a starter on the college level, Gradkowski is at it again.

In Saturday night's 35-31 win over No. 9 ranked Pittsburgh, Gradkowski set a new Mid-American Conference record by completing 49 passes - obliterating the previous mark of 41 set last season by Miami's Ben Roethlisberger. Gradkowski threw it 62 times against Pitt, passing for 461 yards - both school records.

Gradkowski was 30 of 36 in the second half, including 18 of 20 on the final two drives that brought UT back from 10 points down to the historic victory.

"Gradkowski did a fabulous job and their receivers caught everything," Pittsburgh coach Walt Harris said.

"They had a great game plan and executed everything tremendously. They did a lot of things we hadn't seen before and didn't prepare for.”

Gradkowski's 461 passing yards are the most by a MAC quarterback against a team from a BCS conference, besting the 440 yards by Central Florida's Ryan Schneider last season against Syracuse, which is Toledo's next opponent. Gradkowski threw for three touchdowns against Pitt, and has 10 on the season with just one interception. He has completed 69.6% (87 of 125) of his passes.

“Bruce Gradkowski did the things I knew he was capable of doing,” Toledo wide receiver Lance Moore said.

Moore caught a nine-yard touchdown pass from Gradkowski with less than a minute to play, giving Toledo the margin of victory.

“He was great,” Moore said. “He threw it up there perfect, and all I had to do was catch it.”

MORE MOORE: Moore had a busy night against the Panthers.

Moore set a school record with his 15 receptions and gained 162 yards in the passing game. He also had 90 yards in returns, handling four kickoffs and three punts.

“Lance is a big-play guy for us, and he really came through,” Toledo coach Amstutz said. “We found ways to get the ball in his hands, and he kind of took over from there.”

Moore had a 53-yard touchdown reception in the first half against Pitt. Toledo receiver Steve Odom finished with a career-high 11 catches for 135 yards

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