(Thursday, October 2nd)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 26, (10) South Florida 21
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - LeSean McCoy ran for 142 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 4:43 remaining in the fourth quarter, boosting Pittsburgh to a 26-21 upset of 10th-ranked South Florida.
McCoy, who carried the ball 28 times, frustrated the Bulls by making defenders miss tackles several times, and helped give the Panthers (4-1, 2-0 Big East) their fourth straight victory after a season-opening loss to Bowling Green.
Bill Stull completed 16-of-27 passes for 228 yards with a score for the Panthers, who have beaten the last three ranked teams they've played.
Matt Grothe connected on 11-of-21 passes for 129 yards with a TD and was picked off once. He also ran for a score, but the Bulls (5-1, 0-1) faltered defensively late in the game. Mike Ford had 14 rushes for 73 yards.
South Florida drove from its own 14 to the end zone, going ahead 21-20 following Grothe's 22-yard TD pass to Jessie Hester with 5:57 left. Ford had 55 yards rushing during the drive, which had just one pass, the scrambling connection from Grothe to Hester in the right side of the end zone.
Pittsburgh needed just three plays to go ahead for good. Stull found Oderick Turner for a 38-yard gain over the middle, and then McCoy used a brilliant shake move to get by a defender on a sweep to the left for 19 yards. McCoy then cut back and powered into the end zone from three yards out.
The Panthers failed on the two-point conversion, but consecutive sacks of Grothe forced the Bulls to punt with 3 1/2 minutes left.
McCoy ran 12 yards on a 3rd-and-9 draw play for a first down, eating up much of the remaining time. The Panthers punted, leaving USF with the ball at its own 28 with 22 seconds left.
Grothe scrambled eight yards and then completed a pass for 15 more to Dontavia Bogan near midfield. Grothe's prayer pass on the final play fell incomplete near the goal line.
The Bulls struck first with Quenton Washington blocking a Dave Brytus punt, and Charlton Sinclair scooped up the ball and rumbled 27 yards to the end zone with 8:07 left in the first quarter.
Stull came back with a 52-yard bomb for a score to freshman wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin less than three minutes later, and the Panthers came up big on special teams early in the second. Maikon Bonani's 42-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Aaron Berry, but Pitt gave the ball back on the next play as McCoy fumbled.
McCoy scored on a six-yard run with 4:59 left in the half, breaking an ankle tackle before surging to the left corner to give the Panthers a 14-7 lead. Conor Lee tacked on a 35-yard field goal for a 10-point difference with 22 seconds left in the half. That final drive was assisted by a pass interference penalty on USF on a 3rd-and-13 play.
Grothe scored on a one-yard plunge with 9:27 left in the third quarter.
The Panthers got the ball at their own four following a punt late in the third, and drove all the way to the USF 14 before Lee nailed a 31-yard field goal with 9:40 remaining for a 20-14 difference.
The Bulls don't play again until Oct. 18 at home against Syracuse...Pittsburgh's next game is Oct. 18 at Navy...Pittsburgh has a 4-1 start for the fourth time in the last nine years.
10/02 23:33:29 ET