@byline-name:By John Grupp
@body-text:NOTRE DAME, Ind.: Pitt trails Notre Dame, 17-3, at halftime as the Panthers’ offense squandered multiple first-half opportunities/
Pitt leads in total yardage, 188-178, and had drives reach the Notre Dame 9, 10 and 19 yard-lines. But the Panthers only have one field goal to show for it.
The Panthers flubbed a short field goal in the final seconds of the first half, when Andrew Janocko bobbled the snap and Dan Hutchins never got off his 36-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds of the first half.
After Pitt took a 3-0 lead on its opening possession, Notre Dame answered with 17 consecutive points. Irish quarterback Dayne Crist has a passing and rushing touchdown.
Dion Lewis has carried seven times for 21 yards and Ray Graham, the nation’s third-leading rusher, has two carries for 16 yards. Tino Sunseri, who completed his first eight pass attempts, has completed 18 of 25 for 156 yards and one interception.
Crist is 13 of 17 for 135 yards and one touchdown.
Sunseri looked sharp on Pitt’s first possession, completing all six of his pass attempts for 50 yards as Pitt moved deep into Notre Dame territory. The drive stalled and Pitt settled for Hutchins’ 26-yard field goal midway through the first quarter.
Notre Dame answered with a long drive, taking a 7-3 lead on Michael Floyd’s 1-yard touchdown pass from Crist with 2:36 to play in the first half. A pass interference call on Pitt’s Ricky Gary in the end zone helped set up the score.
Pitt drove to Notre Dame’s 10 on its second possession, but Hutchins missed a 27-yard field goal with 14:48 to play in the first half.
Notre Dame took over and put together a 15-play, 79-yard drive, capped by Crist’s 10-yard touchdown run. Jabaal Sheard appeared to have Crist for a sack, but the junior escaped and sprinted down the right side for his third rushing touchdown of the season and a 14-3 lead.
Notre Dame pushed the lead to 17-3 on Ruffer’s 32-yard field goal with 3:22 to play in the second quarter.