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Pitt crushes No. 16 South Florida

Sep 30, 2011 - 5:13 AM Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Behind the legs of Ray Graham and the arm of Tino Sunseri, the Pittsburgh Panthers routed the 16th-ranked South Florida Bulls, 44-17, at Heinz Field.

Graham carried 26 times for 226 yards and two touchdowns, while Sunseri completed 22-of-33 passes for 216 yards and one score. Sunseri added another touchdown on the ground for Pitt (3-2, 1-0 Big East), which avoided a third straight loss.

"I can't tell you how excited I was to go out and see our guys play a complete game," said Panthers head coach Todd Graham.

B.J. Daniels finished with 223 yards on 18-of-36 throws for the Bulls (4-1, 0-1), who were the last remaining unbeaten club in the Big East.

"I think there are a lot of fundamental things we have to go back and look at and we lost contain much too much as a defense letting the ball get outside of us tonight," said South Florida head coach Skip Holtz. "We made too many mistakes in order be competitive as well as Pitt played tonight."

Pitt fumbled the ball on the game's opening drive and the Bulls transformed the turnover into a 12-yard touchdown run by Daniels. Sunseri countered on the subsequent series, running nine yards into the end zone.

The Panthers built a 13-7 lead on a pair of Kevin Harper field goals (47, 39), the latter coming with three minutes gone in the second quarter.

South Florida then went 80 yards in 13 plays to move back in front. Demetris Murray capped the five-minute drive with a seven-yard TD run. But Pitt responded with a 14-play jaunt that began at its own 18 and featured three third-down conversions. The possession culminated in a 13-yard TD run by Ray Graham with 1:43 remaining.

However, a 42-yard reception by Sterling Griffin set up a Maikon Bonani 34- yard field goal, and South Florida trimmed its deficit to 20-17 at halftime.

Following the break, Pitt wrested momentum away from the Bulls, producing a touchdown on its first two second-half possessions. Sunseri hit Hubie Graham for a 12-yard scoring strike before Zach Brown powered his way up the middle from two yards out.

The Panthers continued to pull away in the fourth quarter as Ray Graham ran for an eight-yard TD run. Harper capped the scoring by drilling a 46-yarder.

Game Notes

Pitt has won four straight in the series to take a 6-3 lead...The Panthers had a 36:10-23:50 edge in time of possession and recorded 32 first downs to South Florida's 23...Griffin caught five passes for 109 yards.