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Pittsburgh rebounds, stuns future league rival

PITTSBURGH — A videotaped message from ACC commissioner John Swofford offered Pittsburgh a warm welcome to the ACC in 2013 moments before the Panthers hosted conference power Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Somehow — after two baffling, listless losses to open the Paul Chryst era — Pitt looks ready to make the move.

Ray Graham rushed for 94 yards and two scores and added an 18-yard touchdown reception as the Panthers upset the 13th-ranked Hokies in a 35-17 romp.

The Panthers — for now still in the Big East — couldn't have looked much worse coming in. They were shocked at home by Division I-AA Youngstown State then blown out at Cincinnati.

Yet Chryst told his players things would be fine so long as they stuck to the plan.

"It's not like the movies, Any Given Sunday, it's not just a pregame speech," Chryst said. "It's the process and that's what you appreciate going through. This is the culmination of the work week."

Tino Sunseri passed for 283 yards and three touchdowns and freshman running back Rushel Shell added 157 yards as Pitt ended Tech's nation-high road winning streak at 13.

NO. 19 LOUISVILLE 39, N. CAROLINA 34: Teddy Bridgewater threw three first-half touchdowns and the host Cardinals scored on their first six possessions, then had to hold on with a late defensive stand.

Bryn Renner settled down from a rough first half to rally the Tar Heels from a 36-7 deficit with four second-half touchdowns, including a screen pass to Romar Morris for a 50-yarder with 4:23 remaining.

North Carolina's Norkeithus Otis then forced Adrian Bushell to fumble the ensuing kickoff, and the Tar Heels recovered at the Cardinals' 10. But after moving to the 3, UNC was penalized for a false start. Two plays later Renner's fourth-down pass to Erik Highsmith was batted away in the end zone by cornerback Andrew Johnson with 1:44 left.

"It was just a tale of two halves," Louisville Coach Charlie Strong said.

SYRACUSE 28, STONY BROOK 17: Ryan Nassib hit Jarrod West for the go-ahead touchdown and freshman Ashton Broyld scored on a 22-yard run as the host Orange avoided an upset and snapped a seven-game losing streak. Stony Brook, 0-3 against I-A teams, led 17-14 at halftime.

CINCINNATI 23, DELAWARE ST. 7: George Winn ran for a career-high 147 yards to help the host Bearcats overcome six turnovers, four of them by quarterback Munchie Legaux (two fumbles and two interceptions).

Pittsburgh rebounds, stuns future league rival 09/15/12 [Last modified: Sunday, September 16, 2012 12:56am]

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