Pitt Leads USF At The Half

Jason Hendricks and Todd Thomas each have interceptions. Thomas also has a fumble recovery. Shayne Hale has a sack and a forced fumble, while Matt Yoklic and Isaac Bennett are coming up big on special teams.

The offense has gotten three scoring drives under its belt, but its the Pitt defense that has led the team to a 13-0 lead at halftime.

Ray Graham scored on a 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. That came thanks in part to a Jason Hendricks interception, who set the Panthers up in good field position at the South Florida 21.

Todd Thomas came up with an interception on the next series, after South Florida got as far as the Pitt 5 yard-line. Thomas returned the ball to the Pitt 38. Unfortunately, the Panthers were forced to punt on that series.

Pitt didn't have to wait long to get the ball back; one play to be exact. Shayne Hale sacked South Florida quarterback Matt Floyd, and Thomas recovered the ball at the South Florida 23. Pitt couldn't find the end zone, instead settling for a 25-yard field goal from Kevin Harper.

Harper later added a 27-yard field goal right before halftime.

South Florida had six offensive possessions in the first half. Three ended in turnovers, while the other three resulted in punts. Two of the drives ended by punts started at the South Florida thanks to a pair of Matt Yoklic punts. One was downed by Isaac Bennett, as he made a dive to save the ball from going into the end zone. Yoklic was credited with a 62-yard punt on the play, resulting in a career-long.

While the defense has done its job in the half, the offense--outside of scoring a touchdown--has hardly been effective. Tino Sunseri has been sacked three times in the half. One of them--following Thomas' interception--came when he held on to the ball too long, then threw with a defender in position to strip the ball out of his hand. That defender, Kayvon Bell, succeeded. Cory King fell on the loose ball after a failed attempt by Sunseri and Bell to pick up the loose ball. Instead of capitalizing on the Thomas interception, Pitt faced a 3rd and 34, and was forced to punt three plays later.

Pitt has used three different running backs in this game. While Graham has 49 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown to show for it, the run game has hardly been a threat to South Florida's defense. Despite having the ball for over 20 minutes in the half, the Panthers have just seven first downs to show for it. Only one Pitt drive has gone more than 20 yards, and that was their last one of the half.

Despite the three sacks--coverage sacks for the first two--Sunseri has still completed 11-of-14 passes for 96 yards.

Pitt is playing without Cameron Saddler, who was suspended for tonight's game due to disciplinary reasons and did not make the trip.

Panther More Top Stories