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Pitt takes 31-7 halftime lead over Temple


Pitt continually found holes in the Temple defense Saturday and built a 31-7 halftime lead at Heinz Field.
Pitt scored touchdowns after 90-, 80- and 62-yard drives, the latter ending with a 1-yard pass from quarterback Tino Sunseri to running back Ray Graham with one second left in the half.
Graham and Sunseri led the offensive surge. Graham carried 12 times for 50 yards a touchdown and added four receptions for 71 yards.
Sunseri completed 15 of 19 for 230 yards and stretched his streak without an interception to 4 1/2 games.
Freshman Rushel Shell gained 41 yards on six carries, including his personal best (33).
Pitt took advantage of a careless mistake by Temple to take a 7-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.
After failing to gain a first down on its first possession, Pitt punted and the football struck Temple’s Anthony Robey, who was covering the kick, but had his back to the play.
Pitt’s Eric Williams recovered on the Temple 39, and the Panthers scored seven plays later on a 1-yard run by Rushel Shell.
Sunseri helped keep the drive alive with a 17-yard completion to Mike Shanahan on third-and-6.
After Pitt forced two Temple punts, the Panthers seized control and led 14-0 before the end of the first quarter. Sunseri hit freshman J.P. Holtz for an 18-yard score, the first of his career, at the end of a six-play, 90-yard march.
Temple’s only touchdown of the first half was set up when Pitt allowed a 77-yard kickoff return by the Owls’ Matt Brown. That led to a 9-yard scoring toss from Chris Coyer to tight end Cody Booth.
In the second quarter, two big plays by Pitt led only to a 32-yard field goal by Kevin Harper.
First, senior Cam Saddler’s 37-yard punt return, which would have been the longest of his career, was nullified by a block-in-the-back penalty by Corey Davis. Then, Pitt’s offense stalled after Shell’s 33-yard run.
Harper extended his successful field-goal streak to three (five of his last six).
With 2:32 left in the half, Graham scored on a 1-yard run after a reversal of his lost fumble into the end zone gave the ball back to Pitt.



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