Dion's Dash Buries Buffalo

AMHERST, N.Y. -- With an 85-yard dash late in the fourth quarter, Pitt running back Dion Lewis dashed Buffalo's hopes for a comeback, as the Panthers won 54-27 Saturday afternoon at BU Stadium.

Dion Lewis, a freshman for Pittsburgh (2-0), finished with 24 carries for 190 yards and two touchdowns. Along with his second straight game to surpass the century mark in rushing, Lewis -- who grew up in nearby Albany and had a large family contingent in attendance -- also had six catches for 46 yards.

And while he might not be making anyone forget LeSean McCoy just yet, Lewis certainly is softening the blow from Shady's early entrance into the NFL. And his 85-yard burst definitely was a classic.

"Just protect the ball, that was my first thought,'' Lewis said. "We pretty much have the game under control. When I got to the open field I thought that I could out-run them, so I just turned on the jets.''

With Pitt leading 40-27 in the fourth quarter, Lewis took a handoff from quarterback Bill Stull at the Panthers' 15-yard line. He broke through the Buffalo defensive line and into the secondary. Lewis shredded a couple arm tackles with ease at the line and by a linebacker.

After that, there was roughly 50 yards of wide-open field in front of him. A burst of speed later, and Lewis was in the end zone with his second touchdown of the game to put the game away for the Panthers.

"You have to really appreciate how mature that kid is,'' Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. "He came out, kept his composure and made big plays. He's going to be a big-time player for us.''

Lewis' score came on the heels of a strong drive by Buffalo (1-1) that ended with an incomplete pass in the end zone on fourth down. With their team down by 13 — but moving the ball and looking to make the game a one score battle — the crowd of 21,870 had the Bulls ready to cut Pitt's lead.

"They had us on our heels a lot of the time from a defensive standpoint,'' Wannstedt said. "Offensively, we were able to carry the load today, and that's a nice feeling.''

Lewis also scored on an eight-yard run in the first half to build Pitt's lead to 20-7 against Buffalo. In his first collegiate game last week against Youngstown State, Lewis had 129 yards rushing and two touchdowns with two catches for 10 yards and a three-yard score.

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