Heading in to the game against Virginia Tech, Pitt head coach Paul Chryst said the 13th ranked Hokies presented a great opportunity for his team. Well, opportunity knocked on Saturday and the Panthers answered in a big way, upsetting VT 35-17 and earning their first win.

“It felt real good to get that first win and get that burden off us,” senior running back Ray Graham said after rushing for 94 yards and two touchdowns in the win. “I think we can be a great team and the only team that’s stopping us is ourselves. We went out there and we didn’t look back and we just made plays”

The Panthers jumped on the Hokies early, scoring 21 unanswered points until Tech finally go on the board with a Cody Journell field goal. But the Pitt offense kept rolling and totaled 537 yards on the day.

“That’s a lot [of yards] and that hasn’t happened much,” Hokies head coach Frank Beamer said. “We gotta learn from it and again, they played excellent.”

Pitt also won the turnover battle for the first time this year after being minus-4 in turnover differential after two games. But despite the dramatic turnaround, tight end Mike Shanahan still sees the same team.

“I never thought we lost ourselves or what we were trying to accomplish,” said Shanahan, whose fourth-quarter touchdown catch sealed the win. “This win is proof of that hard work.”

The team presented Chryst with the game ball for notching his first win as coach of the Panthers. But with so much euphoria over the upset, Chryst is making sure the team keeps the win in perspective.

“He let us know that this isn’t the end,” Graham said. “This is one game and we’ve got nine more to go.”

Complete Conference Standings

Cincinnati (2-0)
• The Bearcats’ win against the Hornets was marred by a six-turnover performance by the offense. Quarterback Mucnhie Leguax was the main culprit, throwing a pair of interceptions and fumbling twice. Another solid game from George Winn helped UC even things out but Butch Jones knows his team can’t make those mistakes against Virginia Tech after the bye week.  

Next Game: vs.Virginia Tech Sept. 29

Connecticut (2-1)
• The Huskies held on to get their first win against former coach Randy Edsall thanks to a stand in the final seconds of the game.

“People were more focused in this week,” junior corner Taylor Mack said. “I just think everyone’s focus was dialed up a little bit because there’s a lot of emotion riding on this game.”

The UConn defense continued its dominance against the Terps, registering six sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception.

Next Game: at Western Michigan Sept. 22

No. 19 Louisville (3-0)
• The Cardinals rode a big first-half performance into the fourth quarter to escape with the win against the Tar Heels. Louisville outscored UNC 36-7 in the first half only to be outscored 27-3 in the second. While coach Charlie Strong will look for a more balanced performance from his team in the coming weeks, he can remain confident in quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who leads the Big East with a 173. 3 quarterback rating.  

Next Game: at Florida International Sept. 22

Pittsburgh (1-2)
• A big part of the Panthers’ win was the play of quarterback Tino Sunseri, who fought through a leg injury to throw for 283 yards and three touchdowns.

“…like I said last week he’s a warrior every time, no matter how many times he gets hit he’s gonna get up and continue to do what he do,” Graham said. Shanahan added:
“He’s a tough guy, always battling and he wasn’t going to let us down.”

Next Game: vs. Gardner-Webb Sept. 22

Rutgers (3-0)
• Jawan Jamison’s game-breaking 41-yard touchdown run sealed the win for the Scarlet Knights and capped an impressive 151-yard rushing performance, his fourth consecutive 100-yard game dating back to last season. Despite the win, coach Kyle Flood was not pleased with his team’s seven first-half penalties and knows his team can’t make those kinds of mistakes against Arkansas.

Next Game: at Arkansas Sept. 22

South Florida (2-1)
• As quarterback B.J. Daniels goes, so go the Bulls. He committed three of USF’s four turnovers as Skip Holtz’s crew was pounded by Rutgers and failed to score more than 30 points for the first time this season.  

“What it boiled down to is we turned the ball over five times and third down, we could not get of the field on defense,” Holtz said. “…We just made too many mistakes in that football game to come away with a victory.” 

Next Game: at Ball State Sept. 22

Syracuse (1-2)
• The first win of 2012 puts a halt to the Oranges’ seven-game losing streak. Despite being behind early, Ryan Nassib put on another passing clinic, totaling 335 passing yards and three touchdowns, one of which was to Marcus Sales in the fourth quarter to shut the door on Stony Brook. Nassib now ranks second in the NCAA in total passing yardage with 804 through three games.  

Next Game: at Minnesota Sept. 22

Temple (1-1)
• As the Owls prepare to head to State College to face Penn State, coach Steve Addazio hopes his team looks more like the Temple squad that dropped 41 points on Villanova than one that turned the ball over four times against Maryland. The Nittany Lions will look to build momentum after their first win of the year against Navy. Temple is 3-37-1 against Penn State all-time.     

Next Game: at Penn State Sept. 22