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.