No. 20 Pitt hammered South Florida, 41-14, on Saturday at Heinz Field before a crowd of 50,019. Pitt, now 4-0 in the Big East, improved to 7-1 to match its best start since the 1982 season.
Dion Lewis, who became only the fourth Pitt freshman to reach the 1,000-yard rushing plateau, gutted the uninspired South Florida (5-2, 1-2) defense for a game-high 111 yards on 23 carries — including two 1-yard touchdown runs to give him 72 points, equaling a freshman mark set by Larry Fitzgerald.
While Lewis overpowered the Bulls, quarterback Bill Stull, a Manning Award candidate, completed 18 of 25 pass attempts for 245 yards and two touchdowns.
The Pitt defense dominated a South Florida offense that entered the game averaging 33.7 points. The Panthers checked the Bulls to a season-low 212 total yards and had three interceptions — one fewer than it had in the previous seven games.
Stull was nearly perfect in leading the Panthers to a 31-7 halftime advantage. Lewis reached the 1,000-yarde milestone with a 48-yard gallop along the right sideline that set up his second 1-yard touchdown run with 19 seconds left in the second quarter.
In the first half, Stull completed 13 of 17 pass attempts for 191 yards — including scoring passes of 2 yards to tight end Dorin Dickerson and a 40-yarder to split end Jonathan Baldwin. Baldwin had six catches for a career-high 144 yards.
The Panthers pushed their lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter. Stull took them 60 yards in 4 plays. Flanker Oderick Turner kept alive the drive with a 15-yard catch on third-and-15, then Stull and Baldwin hooked up from 40 yards on the first play of the second quarter.
The Panthers scored on all of their first-half possessions.
— By Ralph Paulk