Scores

Final

Pittsburgh 26

(4-1, 2-0 away)

(10) South Florida 21

(5-1, 2-1 home)

Coverage: ESPN

7:30 PM ET, October 2, 2008

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL

1 2 3 4 T
PITT 7 10 0 926
#10USF 7 0 7 721

Top Performers

Passing: B. Stull (PITT) - 228 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: L. McCoy (PITT) - 28 CAR, 142 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: J. Baldwin (PITT) - 2 REC, 59 YDS, 1 TD

McCoy, Stull carry streaking Panthers past No. 10 Bulls

Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- South Florida just doesn't have a whole lot of success when it's ranked in the Top Ten.

Last year, the Bulls rose to No. 2 in the country only to lose three straight games and drop out of the Big East title picture.

On Thursday night, LeSean McCoy ran for two touchdowns and Bill Stull threw for another as Pittsburgh beat the 10th-ranked Bulls 26-21 on Thursday night.

Pitt Stop

With Thursday's win over USF, Pittsburgh achieved its second win over a top 10 opponent in as many tries. The last came when they beat No. 2 West Virginia in the 2007 regular-season finale. Here's a look at the details of those matchups:


2007 2008
Opponent at West Virginia at South Florida
Opp. rank No. 2 No. 10
McCoy rush yds 148 142
Result Won by 4 Won by 5

The Panthers (4-1, 2-0 Big East) have beaten the last three nationally ranked teams they have faced, including No. 23 Cincinnati and No. 2 West Virginia in 2007. They have won two of the last three games with South Florida (5-1, 0-1) in Tampa.

"West Virginia, obviously, is always going to be the best because they're our backyard rivals," Panthers coach Dave Wannstedt said. "But this, this is probably the closest it's going to get since I've been at Pitt."

The win was the fourth straight for Pittsburgh, which was ranked 25th in the preseason poll only to lose its opener to Bowling Green.

"I'm not going to go to the grave right now," Bulls coach Jim Leavitt said when asked what he would say to his team. "We're 5-1. We didn't play real well tonight. It's reality. That's the way it is.

"Nobody's gone through the Big East undefeated in all the years we've been in it. We've got to find a way to put it behind us."

Quarterback Matt Grothe accounted for most of South Florida's offense, but the Bulls didn't score any points on offense in the first half. Grothe was 11-of-20 for 129 yards and rushed 11 times for 25 yards, including a 1-yard keeper for a TD in the third.

Grothe threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Jessie Hester in the fourth quarter to give the Bulls a 21-20 lead. But Pittsburgh came right back to take the lead, covering 60 yards on three plays in a quick drive that ended with a 3-yard run by McCoy. The 2-point attempt failed.

McCoy, a sophomore, rushed 28 times for a game-high 142 yards, his second straight game over 100.

Stull finished 16-of-27 for 228 yards.

Mike Ford ran 14 times for 73 yards for the Bulls.

"It's hard to go undefeated in college football," Grothe said. "They looked completely different than what they looked on film. I think they came a little bit more prepared than us. They backed us into a corner and made us do some things we didn't want to do."

South Florida struggled in the first half with the offense held to just 77 yards. Grothe was 5-of-12 with an interception. The pick by Don DeCicco was the first interception for Grothe in 107 passes and just his third in six games.

The Bulls had a 42-yard field goal attempt blocked by Greg Williams, and on their next field goal attempt, South Florida faked the kick but backup quarterback Grant Gregory failed to convert on fourth down.

"With all the mistakes we made in this game, I'm surprised [the score] wasn't farther apart than it was," Leavitt said. "We weren't in sync, I don't think, offensively, all game. We were kind of sporadic. Same on defense."

The Bulls scored first when Quenton Washington broke through untouched and blocked a punt by Dave Brytus. Charlton Sinclair picked up the fumble, returning it 27 yards for the score.

However, Pittsburgh scored on its next drive with Stull hitting receiver Jonathan Baldwin for a 52-yard touchdown pass.

The Panthers took a 14-7 lead on a 6-yard run by McCoy and extended the lead to 10 when Conor Lee hit a 35-yard field goal with 22 seconds left in the first half.

"In all, the offense is starting to come together," McCoy said. "That's the sign of a good team, and the win's great and we knew we could do it. We just can't think that far into the future and worry about the Big East because that will come."

Lee's 31-yard field goal made it 20-14 in the fourth.

All-America junior defensive end George Selvie did not start for the second straight game for South Florida, although he entered the game with 10:22 left in the second quarter and recorded two tackles, one for a loss.

South Florida forced two fumbles, both recovered by linebacker Kion Wilson, the first two of his career.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PITT
USF
1st Downs2414
Total Yards374245
Passing228129
Rushing146116
Penalties5-2611-84
3rd Down Conversions4-133-9
4th Down Conversions1-20-1
Turnovers21
Possession36:5423:06

Passing Leaders

PittsburghC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Stull16/272288.410
South FloridaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Grothe11/211296.111

Rushing Leaders

PittsburghCARYDSAVGTDLG
McCoy281425.1226
Dickerson11616.0016
South FloridaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Ford14735.2014
Grothe11252.3127

Receiving Leaders

PittsburghRECYDSAVGTDLG
Turner36020.0038
Baldwin25929.5152
South FloridaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Love24422.0038
Hester33411.3122

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPITTUSF
TD08:07Charlton Sinclair 26 Yd Return Of Blocked Punt (Maikon Bonani Kick) 07
TD05:54Jonathan Baldwin 52 Yd Pass From Bill Stull (Conor Lee Kick) 77
SECOND QUARTERPITTUSF
TD04:59Lesean Mccoy 6 Yd Run (Conor Lee Kick) 147
FG00:22Conor Lee 35 Yd 177
THIRD QUARTERPITTUSF
TD09:27Matt Grothe 1 Yd Run (Maikon Bonani Kick) 1714
FOURTH QUARTERPITTUSF
FG09:40Conor Lee 31 Yd 2014
TD05:57Jessie Hester 22 Yd Pass From Matt Grothe (Maikon Bonani Kick) 2021
TD04:43Lesean Mccoy 3 Yd Run (Two-Point Conversion Failed) 2621