Local
2:42 pm
Sun November 25, 2012

Pitt Football Defeats No. 18 Rutgers

The Pitt Panthers football team upset No. 18 Rutgers, 27-6, at Heinz Field on Saturday.

This was a week in which Pitt traditionally would have played rival West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl, but now that the Mountaineers have left the Big East, the opponent was the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers.

After the teams traded eight punts in a scoreless first quarter, Pitt broke open the game with three touchdowns in the second quarter. Two of those scores came on passes from senior quarterback Tino Sunseri, including a 16-yard toss to Mike Shanahan and a 13-yard throw to Ed Tinker. Sunseri notched 227 total yards in his final home game.

Pitt's two aerial touchdowns were sandwiched around a one-yard touchdown lunge from Panther running back Ray Graham. The senior rushed for a total of 113 yards to pass Craig "Ironhead" Heyward (1984-88) for third place on Pitt's all-time rushing list.

Pitt's defense put together a solid performance in the Panthers' last home game in the Big East, holding the Scarlet Knights to just 50 yards rushing and 157 yards passing with an interception. Rutgers' only score came on a touchdown pass in the third quarter, but the visiting team failed to realize a two-point conversion.

With Saturday's upset win, the Panthers are now (5-6) on the season. If they win at South Florida this Saturday, they become bowl-eligible.

For Rutgers (9-2), the loss sets up a showdown with Louisville on Thursday, in which the winner will be crowned this year's Big East champion.