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Pitt offense explodes in rout of Temple

When Pitt plays the way it did Saturday, the Panthers give themselves a chance to stack up with anyone in the conference.

The Panthers rode a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver to their first Big East win of the season, routing Temple 47-17.

Ray Graham looked like his old self in the victory, reaching the end zone three times while rushing for 109 yards on 19 carries. He added 71 yards on four catches, including a 4-yard touchdown grab on a wheel route with one second left in the first half to give Pitt a 31-7 halftime lead.

Contrast that scene with the one more than seven weeks earlier in Cincinnati, when a struggling Pitt team wasted time and threw the ball out of the end zone on its final play of the first half, ruining any scoring chances for a squad that got off to as bad of an 0-2 start as one could imagine.

Things have changed for the Panthers since, and particularly for Tino Sunseri, who delivered another strong performance in helping his team dig out of an 0-3 Big East start.

The fifth-year senior quarterback completed 20 of 28 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns and did not turn the ball over. He was sacked just once, and he led the Panthers on scoring drives of 90, 80 and 98 yards. Pitt netted 528 total yards of offense Saturday.

Sunseri punctuated his performance with a 58-yard touchdown strike to Devin Street with 4:41 left for the game's final score. Street finished the day with a career-high 140 yards on six catches.

For what it's worth, Pitt's last 0-3 start in Big East play resulted in a 7-5 finish capped by a six-game winning streak to close the season, in 2001. The Panthers, riding a two-game winning streak, hope history can repeat itself in their final Big East season, though the task will be much tougher on the road next week when they face a Notre Dame team either coming off its biggest victory in a decade or one coming off its first loss of the season. (The Irish play at Oklahoma later tonight.)

Temple is back at .500 in conference play after a surprising 2-0 start and has little time to look back before it heads to undefeated Louisville next week, with Cincinnati awaiting afterward.