Tampa, Fla. - Pitt beat South Florida 17-10 at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday. Here is a collection of news, notes, and notables from the game.
- With the win, Pitt improved to 6-4 overall and 4-1 in the Big East. Depending on the outcome of Saturday night's Connecticut-Syracuse game, the Panthers could be in position to clinch the Big East title next week. If the Orange beat the Huskies in Syracuse, then a Pitt win over West Virginia on Friday at Heinz Field would secure the conference's automatic bid in the BCS for the Panthers.
- Dave Wannstedt improved to 4-2 against South Florida. He now has winning records against three Big East teams: USF (4-2), Cincinnati (3-2), and Syracuse (6-0). Wannstedt is 3-3 against Louisville and Connecticut, 2-3 against West Virginia, and 2-4 against Rutgers for a career 24-17 record when facing the conference. Pitt finishes the season with games against West Virginia and at Cincinnati.
- Pitt opened the South Florida game with six consecutive running plays and Dion Lewis gained 45 yards in the process. After that drive, Lewis gained 15 yards on six carries. Lewis finished 105 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries (4.8 yards per carry) for his 12th career 100-yard rushing game. He also moved into eighth place on Pitt's all-time rushing list.
- Ray Graham was not productive in the first half, rushing three times for three net yards and losing four yards on a pass reception. In the second half, though, he had seven carries for 41 yards and caught two passes for 13 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter.
- Tino Sunseri struggled for the second consecutive week, completing 11-of-16 for 142 yards and one touchdown, but he was worse in the first half than his pedestrian final numbers would indicate. Before halftime, Sunseri completed just 3-of-7 for 31 yards; in the second half, he completed 8-of-9 for 101 yards and 1 touchdown.
Last week against Connecticut, Sunseri was 20-of-28 for 220 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. In the three games prior to Connecticut (wins over Syracuse, Rutgers, and Louisville), he completed 68% of his passes for 711 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 1 interception.
- Max Gruder's penalty for running into the kicker in the second quarter was Gruder's first flag of the season. He is the 30th individual Pitt player to draw a flag this season.
- Meanwhile, Antwuan Reed more than doubled his season total of penalties when he drew four flags on Saturday. All four were defensive pass interference penalties; two came on South Florida's touchdown drive in the third quarter and one came on the Bulls' final drive of the game.
Reed's redeeming moment came on the final play of the game when he intercepted USF quarterback B.J. Daniels. It was Reed's second career interceptions; his first came last season against Daniels and the Bulls.
- Pitt committed 11 penalties for 116 yards on Saturday. In the previous three games combined, the Panthers were flagged a total of 11 times for 90 yards.
- Five of Pitt's 11 penalties were pass interference calls (four on Reed; one on Ricky Gary). The Panthers were also charged with two delay of game penalties on offense, a defensive offsides, a special teams false start, running into the kicker, and roughing the passer.
- Three of the pass interference penalties came on third down plays, and two of those were in the fourth quarter. Additionally, Gruder's roughing penalty gave South Florida a first down after the Panthers had forced a fourth-and-1 at the Bulls' 11.
- Saturday's game was the fourth time this season that Pitt has committed double-digit penalties (12 vs. Utah; 10 vs. Florida International; 10 vs. Syracuse).
- Andrew Taglianetti recorded his fourth career block when he deflected a punt early in the third quarter on Saturday. That was the 24th blocked kick of the Wannstedt Era. Nate Nix recovered the block, but he fumbled while attempting a return; South Florida recovered the fumble, but that was Pitt's only turnover of the game.