Pitt was nearly flawless in the final two quarters and routed Louisville, 35-10, at sold-out Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
Pitt (4-1, 1-0) trailed 10-7 at halftime, but scored two touchdowns in the opening 8:25 of the second half to win the Big East opener for both teams.
The Panthers scored touchdowns on four of their first five possessions of the second half and the defense blanked the Cardinals (1-3, 0-1) over the final two quarters for their first win in Louisville in 26 years.
Senior quarterback Bill Stull completed 16 of 23 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns. Tight end Dorin Dickerson caught a pair of touchdown passes and wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, despite sitting out the game’s first series, had four receptions for 105 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown pass from Stull as part of Pitt’s big second half.
Freshman Dion Lewis carried 21 times for 87 yards, and freshman Ray Graham, who lost a fumble in the first half, rushed for 75 yards on 12 carries, both career-highs. He also scored on a 5-yard run to put Pitt up 28-10 with 8:47 to play.
Pitt’s defense, which had allowed 500-plus yards twice in the past three games, shut down a penalty-plagued Louisville. The Panthers were credited with six sacks, including a career-high 3 1/2 by defensive end Greg Romeus.
But it seemed like twice that many as they harassed junior quarterback Adam Froman all game. Froman was starting in place of injured junior Justin Burke (sternum). Pitt had one sack and allowed 530 total yards in last week’s 38-31 loss to N.C. State. Pitt also held Louisville to 3 of 15 on third-down conversions.
The turning point came in a two-play span midway through the third quarter. With Pitt leading 14-10 and Louisville driving, defensive tackle Myles Caragein forced a Froman fumble and Pitt’s Gus Mustakas recovered at the Pitt 29. On the next play, Stull found Baldwin streaking down the middle of the field for a 71-yard touchdown pass to put Pitt ahead 21-10 with 6:35 to play in the game.
The Panthers, wearing all white uniforms for the first time, handed Louisville its third straight loss and beat the Cardinals for the second straight year after losing seven in a row to them from 1990-2007.