PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 15: Ray Graham #1 of the Pittsburgh Panthers stiff arms Antone Exum #1 of the Virginia Tech Hokies during the game on September 15, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Virginia Tech Vs. Pitt: Hokies Say They Took Pitt 'Lightly'

The Pitt Panthers picked up the first win of the Paul Chryst era on Saturday as Tino Sunseri, Ray Graham, and Rushel Shell turned in impressive performances.

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Virginia Tech Vs. Pitt: Hokies' Marcus Davis Says Team Took Pitt 'Lightly'

The University of Pittsburgh Panthers shocked the Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday with a 35-17 victory. Pitt took advantage of Hokie turnovers and jumped out to a 21-3 lead early and VaTech WR Marcus Davis told The Washington Post on Monday night he has an idea why.

We just basically were kind of sleep walking and they hit us right in the mouth and it showed. I think when we woke up Saturday morning, it was like, ‘Well, this is Pitt. They lost to Youngstown State. They got blown out by Cincinnati,' so I’m thinking, ‘We’re gonna go in there and have success,' and that wasn’t the case at all. … We took them lightly and they showed us why they’re a good team.

The idea that Virginia Tech, who was upset by FCS school James Madison in 2010, would take a team lightly has to be troubling to Hokie fans. Other Tech players had similar sentiments to Davis, but no one took their statement to quite the same level. Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas had the same message, but with a more subdued tone.

"I think everybody [underestimated the Panthers] just because their record was 0-2 at the time," he said. "I guess that puts a minor thought in your head."

Whatever the reason, the Panthers won their first game of the season to go to 1-2. They will attempt to get to .500 when they host Gardner-Webb at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.

For more on the Pittsburgh Panthers, check out Cardiac Hill. To read more about Virginia Tech, head over to Gobbler Country.


Virginia Tech Vs. Pittsburgh 2012: QB Tino Sunseri Plays Well In The Face Of Doubters

The Pittsburgh Panthers upset the No. 13 Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday with a surpising, 35-17, blowout victory. The Panthers excelled on offense on the ground and through the air. Quarterback Tino Sunseri received criticism from some after Pitt's losses to Youngstown State and Cincinnati, but he came through on Saturday.

Cadiac Hill, SB Nation's Pittsburgh Panthers blog, gave credit where credit is due:

So, okay, Tino Sunseri. The thing that's most amusing is the small pocket of fans who refuse to give him credit. Kid comes out, throws for nearly 300 yards, has three touchdowns, completes 68% of his passes, and makes play after play. Yet, what do I hear on a post-game radio show? That he's a terrible quarterback who had a lucky game by some guy named Al. Seriously, I've got no problem with criticism lobbed his way when he plays poorly, but if we're being fair, he had an unbelievable day. Not every throw was on target, but most of them were. The interception was, in a word, awful. But if you don't think he had a good game today, you should just come out and say it - you're just not a good dude.

Sunseri finished the game 19/28 for 283 yards and three touchdowns to go with the 254 yards the Panthers gained on the ground.

The victory moved Pittsburgh to 1-2 on the season. They will for their second-straight win when those host Gardner Webb at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.

For more on Pittsburgh football, visit Pitt blog Cardiac Hill, plus SB Nation Pittsburgh. And Big East Coast Bias, for the time being. For more on Hokies football, visit Virginia Tech blog Gobbler Country.

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Virginia Tech Vs. Pitt: Panthers' Win Over Hokies Should Jumpstart Fanbase

When Pitt took the field against Virginia Tech on Saturday, only a small group of fans may have felt they would pull off the upset. That didn't matter to the team, though, and when it comes down to it, that's all that counts.

Pitt got off to a fast start and never looked back. On the opening drive, the team went in for a touchdown. One turned into three as the Panthers took a 21-0 lead and even though the Hokies challenged a few times after some big plays, the Panthers had a double-digit lead throughout the game.

For the fans, this win should play a big role in drumming up interest for the team. No, it doesn't fully erase the first two games where Pitt was thoroughly dominated, but it should help alleviate the fears that the Panthers simply can't compete. Virginia Tech may have been the most difficult team on their schedule (though after today, the Hokies have a lot of questions of their own) and today's contest should prove that Pitt is capable of at least playing the rest of their opponents closely.

An 0-3 start may have meant that Pitt fans would be ready to pack it in, but a win over a nationally-ranked team should jumpstart the fanbase. The next game at Heinz Field against Gardner-Webb probably won't be all that heavily attended, but if they win that game, suddenly at 2-2, things aren't all that bad. And not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but if the Panthers can somehow beat Syracuse on the road in their next contest, you can expect a great turnout at Heinz Field for a huge contest against Louisville.

There's still a lot of season left and the win against Virginia Tech should help to keep fan interest for a while.

For more on Pitt football, check out SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill.


Virginia Tech Vs. Pittsburgh 2012: Final Score And Game Recap

The Pitt Panthers upset Virginia Tech on Saturday, 35-17, for Paul Chryst's first win. The Panthers took advantage of four first-half Hokie turnovers for the convincing victory. Tino Sunseri had one of his best games at Pitt, while Rushel Shell and Ray Graham had their way on the ground. Sunseri finished the day 19 of 28 for 283 yards and the three touchdowns.

The Hokies tried to make things interesting in the second half, striking quickly on two big plays. The first was a a 94-yard punt return by Kyshoen Jarrett, who took it around the wall on the right side and down the sideline for the Hokies first touchdown. Quarterback Logan Thomas hit Marcus Davis for an 85-yard touchdown for their second score of the day, cutting the Panthers lead to 11. Davis took a quick out and cut it up the sideline for the longest passing touchdown in a decade for Virginia Tech.

But Sunseri had an answer each and every time the Hokies tried to get the lead down into single digits. Sunseri hit Graham for a 18-yard score, a nice wheel route down the right side for a huge second-half answer. The senior quarterback then connected with tight end Mike Shanahan in the back of the end zone for a six-yard touchdown. Two plays earlier, the Panthers had lined up for a field goal attempt but Frank Beamer's special teams unit jumped offsides and gave Sunseri new life. He'd drive the nail in the coffin and push the lead to 25-17 with the strike to Shanahan.

In addition to Sunseri's big day, heralded freshman running back Ruhsel Shell finished with nearly seven yards per carry. He amassed 157 yards on 23 carries. Graham, who's still working his way back from last year's ACL injury, converted two touchdowns on the ground and one through the air. He finished with 94 yards on 24 carries.

With a win under their belt, Pitt will try to improve to .500 next week when they host Gardner-Webb at Heinz Field.

For more on Pittsburgh football, visit Pitt blog Cardiac Hill, plus SB Nation Pittsburgh. And Big East Coast Bias, for the time being. For more on Hokies football, visit Virginia Tech blog Gobbler Country.


Virginia Tech Vs. Pittsburgh: Panthers Take Advantage Of Hokie Turnovers, Lead 21-3

After one half at Heinz Field, the Pitt Panthers lead the favored Hokies from Virginia Tech, 21-3. Paul Chryst's team is trying to avoid an 0-3 start, and they took advantage of some first-half turnovers by the Hokies to jump out to a quick three-touchdown lead. The Panthers did not force one turnover in the first two weeks of the season, but they pressured quarterback Logan Thomas early on and gave their offense a chance to move it on Bud Foster's defense.

Tino Sunseri and Ray Graham set the tone early on offense, marching the Panthers down the field on their opening possession for a quick 7-0 lead. Sunseri connected with Devin Street on a 33-yarder, and Drew Carswell on a 23-yarder to set up Graham for a 12-yard scamper into the end zone. The drive lasted less than three minutes, and was probably their most impressive possession of the season.

It was the defense's turn on the second possession of the game, as they forced the first of three Thomas interceptions. The big VT quarterback moved the Hokies into Pitt territory looking to respond to the opening Panthers score, but he forced one into traffic on a quick slant. The ball was tipped and Jarred Holley came down with it, stalling the Tech scoring threat.

Heralded freshman running back Rushel Shell did the heavy lifting on the Panthers second scoring drive. Shell carried the ball on six of seven plays, which included back-to-back runs of 11 yards. Sunseri hit Mike Shanahan for a quick 40-yard pick up to put Pitt back in the red zone, and he'd lob it over the VT defense to the left corner of the end zone for a Street touchdown and the 14-0 lead.

The Panthers drove into the red zone on their next possession, but kicker Kevin Harper was off the mark from 35 yards out. Virginia Tech would give it right back, however, as Michael Holmes had the ball punched free on the first play from inside their own 20. The ball bounced toward the goal line and a host of Pitt defenders were there to pounce on it. Graham rushed it twice to cover the final ten yards and push the Panthers ahead, 21-0.

The Hokies moved the ball on their final two possessions, but they only came away with three points. The Pitt defense rose up and stopped Tech inside the 15-yard-line to force a Cody Journell field goal. Thomas appeared to be getting in rhythm, running a two-minute drill and moving the offense down the field to try and cut into the 18-point lead. But again he overthrew his receiver, hitting Pitt's Jason Hendricks right in the numbers.

Thomas was picked off three times, the first time the Hokies have had three interceptions in a game since 2008. Pitt's offense has had little trouble taking advantage. Sunseri is 10 of 14 for 185 yards and both Graham and Shell are averaging better than five yards per carry.

For more on Pittsburgh football, visit Pitt blog Cardiac Hill, plus SB Nation Pittsburgh. And Big East Coast Bias, for the time being. For more on Hokies football, visit Virginia Tech blog Gobbler Country.


Virginia Tech Vs. Pitt 2012: Game Time, TV Schedule, Spread And More

The Pittsburgh Panthers host the No.13 Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday. Game time is at noon and it will be televised on ESPNU.


Virginia Tech Vs. Pitt: Panthers Have Significant Challenge In Hokies

Pitt will no doubt need to rely on Ray Graham to pull off the upset.

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