Many numbers represent how good Pitt’s second half was against Rutgers Saturday.
Only one, though, tells the true tale: 20.
That’s how many points the Panthers outscored the Scarlet Knights by in the second half en route to a 41-21 win. Pitt put up 27 points and held Rutgers off the scoreboard until the final drive of the game in which the Panthers fielded their second-team defense.
So, can Saturday’s second half be considered the best half of football this season?
“There’s no question,” fullback Henry Hynoski said. “We knew from the beginning of the year that we have so much talent on this team, both offensively and defensively. The second half of the Rutgers game it just kind of all came together. If we could just put that together from the start of the game to the finish the season could be a great year for us.”
Pitt put up 266 yards of offense — 150 passing and 116 rushing. Conversely, the defense held Rutgers to just 110 yards.
Sixty four of those yards came in the game’s final drive.
“I thought that that was probably as good a half as we’ve played this year with contributions by everyone,” Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said.
Wannstedt continued, saying that his team was stellar from an impact-player perspective, which is what it needs to win games.
Quarterback Tino Sunseri recorded his first 300-yard game ever, completing 21 of 27 passes for 307 yards and 3 touchdowns. Wide receiver Jon Baldwin was the main beneficiary of Sunseri’s big day, pulling in four balls for 139 yards and a touchdown.
Dion Lewis ran for 130 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and was complemented by Ray Graham, who put up 71 yards on 14 rushes along with a touchdown of his own. Fullback Henry Hynoski pulled in a staggering 7 catches as well, some in crucial down and distance situations.
And finally, the defense featured defensive ends that wreaked havoc on Rutgers’ quarterback Chas Dodd to a final total of seven sacks.
All those pieces coming together is something the Panthers hope to become a trend as the Big East schedule progresses.
“They’re kind of the senior guys that have been around and you expect those guys to make big plays,” Wannstedt said. “When you see Tino progressing and the offensive line coming on and Henry making plays, that’s the type of team effort that we need to be successful.”
Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog