Pitt falls to No. 19 Miami
Brought down by an anemic offense, the Panthers lost to No. 19 Miami, 31-3, on Thursday night for its worst loss at Heinz Field in nearly nine years.
In front of a national television audience, Pitt (1-2) needed nearly 24 minutes before gaining its initial first down, and lost to Miami for the 15th time in the past 16 meetings between the former Big East rivals.
By the time it was over, Tino Sunseri had been benched for Pat Bostick and most of the 58,115 fans who had this game circled on their calendars had fled for the parking lots.
Miami (2-1) scored on the game’s opening possession and led the rest of the way to give the ACC a much-needed non-conference victory over a BCS-school. The Big East, meanwhile, dropped to 1-7 this season against BCS automatic qualifiers.
Pitt, hoping to use the high-profile matchup to build its national profile and gain a signature victory under sixth-year coach Dave Wannstedt, went three-and-out on its first five possessions.
Pitt, the overwhelming pre-season favorite to win the Big East, finds itself with a losing record and many questions as its readies to play host to Florida International on Oct. 2.
Midway through the second quarter, Pitt had no first downs and 33 total yards. The Panthers didn’t muster their initial first down until 6:00 remained in the first half and didn’t score until Dan Hutchins’ 27-yard field goal with 14:35 to play made it 17-3.
It was Pitt’s most lopsided loss at Heinz Field since a 42-10 loss to Syracuse on Oct. 13, 2001. It marked the first time in 60 games at Heinz Field that Pitt scored fewer than 10 points since the stadium opened in 2001.
The Panthers suffered another loss when middle linebacker Dan Mason sustained a dislocated right knee early in the third quarter. Mason was taken off the field on a cart, surrounded by many of his teammates.
Sunseri completed 8 of 15 pass attempts for 61 yards, before getting pulled for Bostick when Miami took a 24-3 lead with 10:53 to play. Ray Graham had his second consecutive 100-yard game, gaining 100 yards on 14 carries. Dion Lewis gained 41 yards on 12 carries.
Jacory Harris completed 21 of 32 pass attempts for 248 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for Miami, which rebounded from its Sept. 11 loss at Ohio State.
Despite its offensive woes, Pitt cut the Miami lead to 17-3 on Dan Hutchins’ 27-yard field goal with 14:35 to play in the game.
Pitt was poised to get the ball back with 12:30 to play, but Cam Saddler muffed a Miami punt after calling for a fair catch and the Hurricanes recovered at the Pitt 43.Three plays later, Harris found Travis Benjamin for a 10-yard touchdown pass and a 24-3 Miami lead with 10:53 to play.