Pitt improves to 2-0 with win over Ball State

The 11th ranked Panthers came out flat against Ball State, but they bounced back with a dominating third quarter after putting many early game mistakes behind them. The 42-21 win was impressive when you consider Pitt was flagged for 6 illegal procedures, one personal foul, one roughing the punter, and two pass interference penalties. They also fumbled three times.

Once again Pitt was led by an outstanding game by Rod Rutherford. He was 19 of 31 for 285 yards and 3 TD's with no interceptions. He continued to prove that he can do it with his legs also by adding 47 yards on 8 carries rushing the football.

Larry Fitzgerald was dominating once again and finished with 7 catches for 124 yards and 2 TD's. It was Fitzgerald's 8th straight 100-yard receiving game, which is a Pitt record. Brandon Miree had another strong outing as he rushed for 73 yards on 15 carries and 2 TD's.

The player who really was responsible for jump-starting the offense was fullback Lousaka Polite. Polite finished with 44 yards rushing on 5 carries and also 43 receiving yards on 4 catches.

Ball State was led by QB Talmadge Hill, who finished 19 of 30 for 192 yards and 3 TD's. He was very accurate all day long despite getting hit often in the pocket. His top receiving target was Dante Ridgeway, who finished with 8 catches for 94 yards and 2 TD's.

Pitt was led on defense by Lewis Moore with 8 tackles. Once again the Panthers played a lot of young players. True freshman Clint Session had another impressive outing with 3 solo tackles, one assist, and one sack. He made another bone-jarring hit on kickoff coverage by nailing Dante Ridgeway. Another backup, weakside linebacker J.J. Horne, also made several big plays. Horne had a tackle for a 5-yard loss and made several hard hits throughout the game. Charles Spencer saw increased playing time at defensive tackle also, rotating with Dan Stephens.

Pitt (2-0) takes on the Toledo Rockets (2-1) Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Glass Bowl in Toledo, Ohio. Toledo is coming off a 24-17 upset win over Marshall. Their lone loss was to UNLV (28-18), who blew out Wisconsin in Madison yesterday (23-5).

Brian Gold
PittInsiders.com


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