Pitt evening its record on the season with a win over Temple wasn't a huge surprise. The Panthers were playing at home against a beatable opponent and should have won the game . What was the surprise, however, was that Pitt did so in such an easy manner. The Owls were dominated on both sides of the ball and really weren't able to keep the game close.
Pitt's offense racked up more than 500 yards and was clicking on all cylinders. Quarterback Tino Sunseri and running back Ray Graham led the way. After a modest week against Buffalo, Sunseri came back to throw for 321 yards, completing 20 of his 28 passes. He added three touchdowns against no interceptions and really played well. Graham paced the ground attack with 109 yards and two rushing TDs. But he wasn't done there and added four receptions for 71 yards and another score.
The defense did their part, too. They held Temple to 17 points and seven of those came on a mere 21-yard drive, as the Owls had a 77-yard kickoff return by Matt Brown in the opening quarter. And with the Owls hanging around a little bit in the 4th quarter down 34-17, Pitt's defense came up with some big plays. Freshman cornerback Lafayette Pitts stripped the ball away from Temple wide receiver Deon Miller after a short completion early on. And after an ensuing touchdown, the Panthers defense stuffed Temple on a 4th and goal at the Pitt 2-yard line. Linebacker Dan Mason made the huge play all but sealing the victory. Speaking of Mason, his amazing comeback story continues as he had his second consecutive game with double-digit tackles.
Even the special teams had a fairly strong game. They weren't perfect since they allowed the long kickoff return and also botched a snap on an extra point attempt. But kicker Kevin Harper made both of his field goals, Pitt recovered a fumble after a botched punt return by Temple, and Ray Vinopal made a big play when he secured the ball after a surprise onside kick by the Owls.
If you watched the game as a Pitt fan, there really wasn't much to complain about. The Panthers took care of the football on offense, made big plays on defense and won a crucial game. Things get significantly tougher next week, though, with a trip to No. 5 Notre Dame. The Panthers also still have road games against South Florida and UConn as well and a home date with ranked Rutgers.