Scores

Final

Gardner-Webb 10

(0-4, 0-2 away)

Pittsburgh 55

(2-2, 0-1 ACC)

3:30 PM ET, September 22, 2012

Heinz Field, PITTSBURGH, PA

1 2 3 4 T
WEBB 3 7 0 010
PITT 7 20 14 1455

Top Performers

Passing: T. Sunseri (PITT) - 344 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: R. Graham (PITT) - 8 CAR, 94 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: M. Shanahan (PITT) - 5 REC, 144 YDS, 2 TD

Tino Sunseri throws for 344 yards, 3 TDs as Pitt pastes Gardner-Webb

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- Tino Sunseri passed for 344 yards and three touchdowns to lead Pittsburgh past overmatched Gardner-Webb 55-10 on Saturday.

Mike Shanahan caught five passes for a career-high 144 yards and two scores for the Panthers (2-2), who shook off a slow start to crush the Runnin' Bulldogs (0-4).

Pitt coach Paul Chryst said he wasn't concerned about a letdown after the Panthers upset Virginia Tech a week ago. The Panthers let Gardner-Webb -- a Football Championship Subdivision school -- hang around for a quarter before pulling away behind Sunseri.

Kamar Morrison returned a Ray Graham fumble 65 yards for a Gardner-Webb touchdown late in the first half. It was one of the few bright spots for the Runnin' Bulldogs, who were outgained 626-127.

The Panthers paid Gardner-Webb $470,000 to make the 500-mile trip north from Boiling Springs, N.C., as a schedule filler after West Virginia and TCU opted to play in the Big 12 instead of the Big East this season.

The Runnin' Bulldogs were friendlier to their hosts than the last FCS school to visit Heinz Field. Pitt was stunned by Youngstown State 31-17 in the season-opener three weeks ago, the program's first ever loss to a lower division school.

How quickly things have changed.

Pitt followed up the stunning upset by getting waxed on the road in Cincinnati. That humbling 34-10 loss suddenly seems like a long time ago. The Panthers hammered then 13th-ranked Virginia Tech last Saturday, then gained momentum heading into a bye week by crushing the Runnin' Bulldogs.

Still, it took Pitt awhile to get going.

Gardner-Webb moved the ball a little bit on each of its first two drives and actually had a chance to take an early lead but Trever Austin's 40-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right.

One play later the Panthers were in front. Graham took a handoff from Sunseri, stutter-stepped at the line of scrimmage then sprinted 78 yards for a score. A lengthy kickoff return by J.J. Hubbard put the Runnin' Bulldogs in scoring position, and Austin hit a 41 yard field goal to make it 7-3.

That would be about it for the competitive portion of the night.

The Panthers ripped off the next 17 points, including a 1-yard touchdown plunge by freshman running back Rushel Shell and a pretty 34-yard strike from Sunseri to Devin Street.

Pitt's only slipup came on a rare miscue by Graham, who fumbled while getting tackled late in the second quarter. Morrison, a senior cornerback, scooped up the loose ball and raced down the sideline for the score to make it 24-10.

The Panthers tacked on a short field goal by Kevin Harper on the final play of the first half to make it 27-10 at the break then poured it on in the third quarter. Sunseri hit Shanahan for a 4-yard score on Pitt's first possession of the second half and the two hooked up again later in the quarter.

Shanahan did most of the work this time, hauling in a short crossing route then heading toward the sideline, where a great block by Street gave Shanahan enough space to finish off a 77-yard catch-and-run.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
WEBB
PITT
1st Downs1024
Total Yards127626
Passing95397
Rushing32229
Penalties9-589-77
3rd Down Conversions4-135-10
4th Down Conversions0-01-1
Turnovers31
Possession31:5228:08

Passing Leaders

Gardner-WebbC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Beatty14/22954.301
PittsburghC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Sunseri18/2434414.330

Rushing Leaders

Gardner-WebbCARYDSAVGTDLG
Blount11363.3014
Little15181.207
PittsburghCARYDSAVGTDLG
Graham89411.8178
Bennett6528.7221

Receiving Leaders

Gardner-WebbRECYDSAVGTDLG
Cranfill4348.5020
Heard4297.3012
PittsburghRECYDSAVGTDLG
Shanahan514428.8277
Street59519.0134

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERWEBBPITT
TD03:23Ray Graham 78 Yd Run (Kevin Harper Kick) 07
FG01:00Trever Austin 41 Yd 37
SECOND QUARTERWEBBPITT
FG14:32Kevin Harper 41 Yd 310
TD11:27Rushel Shell 1 Yd Run (Kevin Harper Kick) 317
TD08:41Devin Street 34 Yd Pass From Tino Sunseri (Kevin Harper Kick) 324
TD01:10Kamar Morrison 65 Yd Fumble Return (Trever Austin Kick) 1024
FG00:00Kevin Harper 22 Yd 1027
THIRD QUARTERWEBBPITT
TD10:16Mike Shanahan 4 Yd Pass From Tino Sunseri (Kevin Harper Kick) 1034
TD01:00Mike Shanahan 77 Yd Pass From Tino Sunseri (Kevin Harper Kick) 1041
FOURTH QUARTERWEBBPITT
TD13:37Isaac Bennett 3 Yd Run (Kevin Harper Kick) 1048
TD09:03Isaac Bennett 11 Yd Run (Kevin Harper Kick) 1055