Maine 29

(1-1, 0-1 away)

Pittsburgh 35

(2-0, 2-0 home)

1:00 PM ET, September 10, 2011

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA

1 2 3 4 T
MAIN 0 7 8 1429
PITT 9 11 8 735

Top Performers

Passing: W. Smith (MAIN) - 334 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: R. Graham (PITT) - 28 CAR, 121 YDS, 3 TD

Receiving: D. Buttles (MAIN) - 7 REC, 148 YDS, 1 TD

Ray Graham scores three TDs, leads Pitt past Maine

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- Ray Graham ran for 121 yards and three touchdowns to lead Pittsburgh past Maine 35-29 on Saturday.

The junior running back added five receptions for another 30 yards for the Panthers (2-0), who struggled to put away the Black Bears (1-1).

Warren Smith passed for 334 yards and three touchdowns for Maine while receiver Derek Buttles added seven receptions for 148 yards and a score for the Black Bears, who never led but kept it interesting from start to finish.

Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri threw for 224 yards and two interceptions before giving way to true freshman Trey Anderson in the fourth quarter. Anderson, a walk-on who was offered a scholarship just before the season-opener against Buffalo, guiding the Panthers to a touchdown in his first series to provide some needed breathing room.

Turns out, Pitt needed every last bit of it.

Zach Brown appeared to put the game away with a 1-yard touchdown run to put Pitt up 35-15 with 8:39 to go.

Maine, a member of the Football Championship Subdivision, simply wouldn't go away. The Black Bears scored on a 1-yard plunge by David Hood with 3:12 to go and Smith found Maurice McDonald for a 2-yard touchdown with three seconds remaining.

The Black Bears, however, were offsides on the ensuing onside kick and Pitt escaped thanks again to its star running back as coach Todd Graham's "high octane" attack operated in simple fits and starts.

The first-year coach was hoping his team would start working the kinks after an uneven debut against Buffalo a week ago.

Not quite yet.

Sunseri had trouble getting the ball downfield once again. The junior's longest completion was a 25-yard strike to tight end Hubie Graham.

Then again, Sunseri rarely had time to throw. Maine sacked him seven times and harassed him into throwing the ball away on a handful of other occasions.

Not exactly the kind of performance Todd Graham was looking for as Pitt prepares for the meat of its schedule. The Panthers travel to Iowa next Saturday before hosting Notre Dame and South Florida.

The Black Bears were supposed to be a chance at a tune-up. They gave Pitt plenty to work on.

Ray Graham, who ran for 201 yards and three scores a week ago, again proved to be the only consistent weapon in the Panthers' arsenal. He scored on runs of 1, 3 and 1 yards, the last of which gave Pitt a 28-15 lead.

Pitt's defense made a stand and the Panthers quickly got the ball back, only this time Sunseri didn't lead them onto the field. Instead it was Anderson, who has gone from walk-on to scholarship player in the span of a month.

The next stop on his journey could be starter.

Anderson completed 4 of 5 passes on his first drive and showcased his arm strength when he heaved it 50 yards in the face of a hard-charging Maine rush. The ball fell incomplete, but the throw seemed to revive the Panthers.

Pitt quickly drove down the field, with Brown capping the drive with a touchdown. Anderson remained under center on Pitt's next drive while Sunseri stood on the sideline with his helmet pushed atop his head.

It creates a murky picture going forward even as Pitt improved to 10-0 all-time against FCS opponents while the Black Bears failed to beat a BCS conference team for the second time under coach Jack Cosgrove.

Maine shocked Mississippi State in 2004 and while the Black Bears never found a way in front, they provided plenty of fodder for the boos that showered the Panthers at times as they tried desperately to gain some traction.


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs1926
Total Yards371381
3rd Down Conversions6-177-16
4th Down Conversions2-32-3

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

TD10:28Ray Graham 1 Yd Run (Pat Failed) 06
FG06:02Kevin Harper 44 Yd 09
FG14:36Kevin Harper 25 Yd 012
TD09:13Derek Buttles 22 Yd Pass From Warren Smith (Brian Harvey Kick) 712
TD01:45Ray Graham 3 Yd Run (Tino Sunseri Run For Two-Point Conversion) 720
TD06:13Derek Session 5 Yd Pass From Warren Smith (Chris Treister Run For Two-Point Conversion) 1520
TD02:26Ray Graham 1 Yd Run (Tino Sunseri Pass To Mike Shanahan For Two-Point Conversion) 1528
TD08:39Zach Brown 1 Yd Run (Kevin Harper Kick) 1535
TD03:12David Hood 1 Yd Run (Brian Harvey Kick) 2235
TD00:03Maurice McDonald 2 Yd Pass From Warren Smith (Brian Harvey Kick) 2935