Pittsburgh running back Ray Graham proved why he is one of the best in the country last night, running all over the South Florida Bulls, while helping lead the Panthers to a 44-17 victory at home in the Big East opener.
South Florida (4-1, 0-1 Big East) entered the game as nearly a touchdown favorite against Pittsburgh. After taking a 14-13 lead halfway through the second quarter, the Bulls were outscored 31-3 the rest of the way. They were dominated up front on both sides of the ball, particularly by the Pittsburgh offensive line who opened up some huge holes for running back Ray Graham.
Graham carried the ball 26 times for 226 yards and two touchdowns. He broke out for some big gains in the second half and averaged nearly nine yards per carry for the game.
Quarterback Tino Sunseri was impressive, going 23-33 for 216 yards and a touchdown. Sunseri was much improved from the previous two weeks.
South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels who is one of the favorites to win Big East player of the year, struggled throughout the game. He was bottled up by the Pittsburgh defense, completing 18 of 36 passes for 223 yards. He also carried the ball 14 times for only 43 yards.
Pittsburgh (3-2, 1-0 Big East) was finally able to let go of some frustration that had to be building up from demoralizing losses the previous two weeks to Iowa and Notre Dame.
The win shows Pittsburgh is a team to be reckoned with in the Big East and also proves South Florida has some work to do if they want to be Big East champs.
In what seemed to be shaping up to be a two or three-team race for the Big East title could be much more than that with one of the favorites going down in the first conference game of the season.
Five teams, including, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, South Florida and Syracuse could all win the Big East in what is shaping up to be an interesting race in the coming week.