LeSean “Shady” McCoy showed shades of greatness in the first quarter, scoring three touchdowns to give Pitt a 21-7 lead over Grambling State at Heinz Field.
McCoy, a 6-foot, 210-pound freshman tailback from Harrisburg, has rushed for 50 yards on four carries and caught one pass for 17 yards. Pitt used a 10-play, 71-yard drive highlighted by McCoy’s 25-yard run and 17-yard reception and capped by his first career touchdown on a 5-yard run with 8:18 remaining in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.
Pitt walk-on linebacker Brian Kaiser blocked a Grambling punt, and middle linebacker Scott McKillop recovered it at the 15. A holding penalty against the Tigers gave Pitt first-and-goal at the 7, and McCoy scored on the next play for a 14-0 lead with 5:47 remaining in the first quarter.
McCoy scored his third touchdown shortly after McKillop caused another turnover, tipping a pass that was intercepted by safety Eric Thatcher at the Grambling 31. After an 18-yard pass from Smith to Strong, McCoy dashed 13 yards to the end zone to give the Panthers a 21-0 lead.
McCoy is the first Pitt player to rush for three touchdowns in a game since LaRod Stephens-Howling did so in a 52-7 victory at Central Florida last October.
Grambling responded with a five-play, 56-yard drive capped by a 29-yard pass from Brandon Landers to Clyde Edwards, who made diving catch in the end zone to cut it to 21-7 with 1:15 remaining.