Youngstown St 31

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Pittsburgh 17

(0-1, 0-1 home)

6:30 PM ET, September 1, 2012

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA

1 2 3 4 T
YSU 7 7 7 1031
PITT 7 3 0 717

Top Performers

Passing: T. Sunseri (PITT) - 239 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: A. Stubbs (YSU) - 6 CAR, 71 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: W. Shaw (YSU) - 3 REC, 51 YDS, 2 TD

FCS' Youngstown St. ruins Paul Chryst's debut with upset of Pitt

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- Paul Chryst won over his players at Pittsburgh with a refreshing bluntness that has given the beleaguered program a sense of calm.

Winning games, apparently, is going to take a little while longer.

Maybe a lot longer.

Youngstown State spoiled Chryst's debut with the Panthers, outclassing Pitt in nearly every area in an emphatic 31-17 upset on Saturday night.

"My hat goes off to Youngstown State," Chryst said. "They are very well coached. They're a good team. Tonight, they were the better team."

Much better.

The Penguins, a Football Championship Subdivision program, beat a Bowl Championship Series team for the first time in school history behind an offense that frustrated the Panthers from the start.

Kurt Hess passed for 154 yards and two touchdowns and Andre Stubbs had 172 all-purpose yards and two scores for Youngstown State.

"In our locker room, we believed we could do it," Hess said. "We believe in each other. It's easily the biggest win of our careers."

This wasn't a last-second stunner. The Penguins never trailed, baffling Pitt with a spread offense that kept the Panthers off balance during a soggy night at Heinz Field. Youngstown State converted 11 of 16 third downs and held the ball for more than 35 minutes.

"I don't want to take anything away from their victory, but that's not the real Pitt out there," said Panthers defensive back Andrew Taglianetti. "It's definitely frustrating that you work so hard on first and second down and then third down comes up and they were converting them."

Tino Sunseri threw for 239 yards and a score for Pitt, but the Panthers had no answer for the Penguins while losing to a FCS program for the first time.

Pitt committed two turnovers -- including one by senior running back Ray Graham deep in Youngstown State territory -- and couldn't produce a big play when it needed one.

"I don't feel like we were dominated," Chryst said. "I don't feel like we were getting hammered. But we did not dominate, by any means, either side of the ball."

The Panthers brought in Chryst in January hoping the former Wisconsin offensive coordinator could bring a sense of calm to a program that went through three coaches in 15 months.

Chryst admits he's learning on the job, and he suspended six players before kickoff for disciplinary reasons, including freshman running back Rushel Shell, the leading rusher in Pennsylvania high school history. Chryst would only say, "we have some matters we need to take care of," and declined to say whether any of the suspensions will extend into Thursday's Big East opener at Cincinnati.

Graham returned from a torn ACL in his right knee that cut short his 2011 season to rush for 71 yards on 14 carries, but had the costly fumble and only broke one big run against a defense that struggled last season.

They're not struggling anymore, however.

Youngstown State, which won four FCS titles in the '90s, is looking to rebuild under third-year coach Eric Wolford. Consider the project well ahead of schedule. The Penguins scored the first two times it had the ball en route to a 14-10 halftime lead, putting together scoring drives of 79 and 92 yards.

Then the Penguins got bold.

With Hess deftly taking them downfield to open the second half, Youngstown State faced a fourth-and-1 from the Pitt 23. Hess pitched the ball to tailback Jamaine Cook, who pulled up and hit a wide open Will Shaw for a score to put the Penguins up 21-10.

"We weren't going to kick it," Wolford said.

The Panthers never recovered.

Pitt tried to answer Youngstown State's score with a gamble of its own midway through the third quarter. Only Isaac Bennett stutter-stepped and never came close on fourth-and-1 from the Penguins' 21. Hess responded by guiding another lengthy drive, capped by 13-yard burst by Stubbs that gave Youngstown State a 28-10 lead.

Though the Panthers pulled within 28-17 on a 35-yard strike from Sunseri to Joshua Brinson, they would get no closer. Youngstown State added a late field goal for the final margin as the Chryst era began with a thud.

"It's in our hands to go forward," Chryst said. "I believe this group can go forward and we will go forward."


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs2317
Total Yards381369
3rd Down Conversions11-167-13
4th Down Conversions1-11-2

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

TD08:25Andre Stubbs 27 Yd Pass From Kurt Hess (David Brown Kick) 70
TD02:47Isaac Bennett 4 Yd Run (Kevin Harper Kick) 77
TD10:14Will Shaw 14 Yd Pass From Kurt Hess (David Brown Kick) 147
FG06:13Kevin Harper 33 Yd 1410
TD12:07Will Shaw 23 Yd Pass From Jamaine Cook (David Brown Kick) 2110
TD12:21Andre Stubbs 13 Yd Run (David Brown Kick) 2810
TD09:17Joshua Brinson 35 Yd Pass From Tino Sunseri (Kevin Harper Kick) 2817
FG03:02David Brown 25 Yd 3117

Research Notes

Pittsburgh's loss to Youngstown State was the school's first in 11 all-time games against FCS opponents. It was the Panthers' third meeting all-time against the Penguins. In the previous two meetings, Pitt outscored Youngstown State 79-3.

ESPN Stats & Information