The Panthers did what the had to do in a must-win game, defeating the Buffalo Bulls in a rainy road contest by a 20-6 score.
One of the issues for the Panthers this season has been their kicking game. Kevin Harper, who came in 6 for 11 on field goals on the season, connected from 45 and 22 yards to give the Panthers a 6-0 lead after one quarter.
Jason Hendricks, who came on during the Virginia Tech game, intercepted a pass from quarterback Alex Zordich, his fourth of the season. This gave the Panthers possession and Rushel Shell scored from four yards out giving the Panthers a 13-0 lead.
Before the half was over, the Bulls got their kicking game going as kicker Patrick Clarke made field goals from 27 and 41 yards.
The Panthers relied mostly on running plays in the first half. In the third quarter, their second drive was nine plays for 58 yards and a touchdown on a Ray Graham 8-yard run, extending the lead.
Quarterback Tino Sunseri finally was able to move the ball down the field on the pass. Mike Shanahan was the beneficiary of this, catching a pair of passed for 39 yards.
From there the Panthers held the Bulls and were able to get the victory. They play at home next Saturday in a noon kickoff against the Temple Owls.
I do not take much from this game, other than they did not pull a Youngstown State in this game. Youngstown State is a solid team and the Bulls do not look to be a great team by any means.
Game Ball: There are numerous ways to go with this. I could give a sarcastic one to Kevin Harper for doing his job or to Jason Hendricks for his interception. I am going to go with Ray Graham, though. He has been criticized a lot by fans who remember his game breaking speed. It is clear that he is gutting out his senior season and by no means is 100 percent. Still, he is a tremendous leader on this team and his 20 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown show he still can lead on and off the field and that the team can still rely on him.
Graham’s presence was mandatory as the weather put a damper on the Panther passing game. Tino Sunseri completed nine passes for 127 yards. Rushel Shell actually led the Panthers in receiving with his one catch for 41 yards. The Panthers were outgained in this game 333-261.
Pitt vs Buffalo scoring recap
Pitt- Harper 45 yard field goal 6:55 3-0
Pitt- Harper 22 yard field goal 2:12 6-0
Pitt- Shell 4 yard run (Harper kick good) 8:40 13-0
Buffalo- Clarke 27 yard field goal 4:16 13-3
Buffalo- Clarke 41 yard field goal 0:12 13-6
Pitt- Graham 7 yard run (Harper kick good) 6:29 20-6