Graham, Shanahan, Sunseri move up record books in Panthers victory

October 27, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers wide receiver Mike Shanahan (87) catches a pass in front of Temple Owls defensive back Abdul Smith (21) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Coming out of the tunnel to start the game, the Panthers were hungry for their first conference win of the season and they were able to achieve that defeating the Temple Owls 47-17.

Their first drive was supposed to be a three and out. Punter Matt Yoklic had a 37 yard punt that hit a Temple player and the Panthers recovered the football. They drove down the field as quarterback Tino Sunseri was able to find Mike Shanahan twice on the drive and Ray Graham ran the ball to the one yard line where Rushel Shell finished off the drive with a touchdown.

This meant that the Panthers who wore all blue scored more points than they did the last time they wore those uniforms their 2008 appearance in the Sun Bowl.

On Temple’s first possession, they were ineffective, however their punter Brandon McManus was roughed on a questionable call where he was nicked and fell down. Temple still could not convert forcing another punt.

In the drive Sunseri found Shanahan again to tie him for seventh place on the receptions list. On the next play, Sunseri found tight end J.P. Holtz who scored his first college touchdown to extend the Panthers lead to 14 points.

On the ensuing kickoff Matt Brown returned the ball 77 yards, setting up quarterback Chris Coyer found tight end Cody Booth for a nine yard touchdown reception to cut into the Panthers lead at the end of the first quarter.

To start the second quarter, Shell provided the Panthers with a 33 yard run, his longest as a Panther and Kevin Harper put three points on the board, connecting from 32 yards away.

The second quarter was largely a quieter one until the Panthers drove following a touchback. In the drive, Sunseri reestablished his connection with Devin Street. Ray Graham had six yard run that was initially ruled a fumble in the endzone, however in a review his elbow was down on the one yard line. Graham scored easily on the next play and tied Antonio Bryant for 14th place on the all-time scoring list at Pitt.

Pitt got the ball back with under 90 seconds to go in the half. The big play was Sunseri completing a 35 yard pass to Devin Street. Ray Graham would catch a four yard pass from Sunseri for a score. That put Graham in a tie for 11th in career scoring and gave the Panthers a 31-7 lead at halftime.

Temple started the second half with the football and marched down the field with a makeshift hurry up offense and running back Montel Harris ran for a 14 yard touchdown making the score 31-14 Panthers.

Kicker Harper added a 38 yard field goal to pad the lead in the middle stages of the third quarter and McManus added one from 45 yards in response.

At the end of the third quarter the Panthers led 34-17.

In the fourth quarter, the Panthers had two plays which went for 37 yards with Graham a part of both plays. His second rushing touchdown of the game gave him 192 career points, possession of solo 10th on the list. The snap on the extra point was botched.

The drive started when Lafayette Pitts forced a fumble, the first time all season the Panthers have forced multiple fumbles in a game.

The Owls drove deep into their own territory to the point that they had a first and goal, but they failed to cash it in as the Panthers made a big stop.

The Panther lead was extended when Sunseri found Street for a 58 yard touchdown pass. The 140 yards for Street is the most in his career and is now 10th in career receptions.

With that pass Sunseri had 321 yards passing and moved up to fourth place in total yards.

The Panthers defense contained the Temple defense for the rest of the game and improved to 4-4 (1-3 Big East).

The Panthers will face a tough test next Saturday as they will face a ranked Notre Dame team on the road. The game is slated for 3:30 and will be televised by NBC.

Pitt vs Temple Scoring

1st Quarter

Pitt- Shell 1 yard run [Harper kick good] 10:37 7-0
Pitt- Holtz 18 yard pass from Sunseri [Harper kick good] 4:46 14-0
Temple- Booth 9 yard pass from Coyer [McManus kick good] 2:53 14-7

2nd Quarter

Pitt- Harper 32 yard field goal 9:40 17-7
Pitt- Graham 1 yard run [Harper kick good] 2:32 24-7
Pitt- Graham 4 yard pass from Sunseri [Harper kick good] 0:01 31-7

3rd Quarter

Temple- Harris 14 yard run [McManus kick good] 31-14 11:45
Pitt- Harper 38 yard field goal 8:03 34-14
Temple- McManus 45 yard field goal 34-17

4th Quarter

Pitt- Graham 2 yard run [botched snap] 13:57 40-17
Pitt- Street 58 yard pass from Sunseri [Harper kick good] 4:41 47-17

Topics: Mike Shanahan, Pittsburgh Panthers Football, Ray Graham, Tino Sunseri

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