Freshman running back Rushel Shell racked up 157 rushing yards in Pitt’s upset win over Virginia Tech. (AP)
Snap Judgments from the early Week 3 slate. For more coverage, check out our midday Snaps, Alabama-Arkansas recap, Cal-Ohio State recap, Stanford-USC recap, evening Snaps and complete Top 25 review.
• Pitt 35, No. 13 Virginia Tech 17. We will not lie: We had not harbored high hopes for what appeared to be a dismaying Week 3 slate of games. With only three matchups between ranked teams and many other programs wrapping up their cupcake games before league play, we entirely expected to sit around in various states of boredom or sadness until USC and Stanford kicked off at 7:30 p.m.
So, of course, along comes Pitt, one week removed from getting waxed in its conference opener and two weeks removed from losing its season opener to an FCS team. The Panthers proceeded to stun us all, scoring more than twice as many points on No. 13 Virginia Tech than they managed against the Youngstown State Penguins in Week 1. College football’s gods are a capricious bunch, but let it never be said that they will let us remain without entertainment for long.
Tino Sunseri, so often maligned for reasons both fair and unfair, completed 19-of-28 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns. One of those scoring throws landed in the hands of Ray Graham, less than a year removed from an ACL tear. Graham bears responsibility for the Panthers’ two remaining touchdowns as well, both of which came on short-yardage runs. Freshman Rushel Shell, who split carries with Graham, recorded 157 yards on 23 touches. The Panthers finished with 537 yards of total offense against Bud Foster’s defense. That is neither a trick nor a typo.
Let’s not let the defense go without credit: Pitt forced four turnovers, including three interceptions thrown by Logan Thomas, and two sacks. Thomas was also the Hokies’ leading rusher, winding up with a grand total of … 28 yards.
As first wins go, this is a doozy. As first wins between future division rivals go, it’s a shot across the bow. (It would be like the Sunseri of old to attempt a shot across the bow that strikes a direct hit on an opponent, wouldn’t it?) [BOX | RECAP]