Pitt made this one look easy as Bill Stull completed his first 11 passes and threw for two touchdowns, Dion Lewis ran for two and No. 20 Pitt scored on all five possessions in the first half to rout the Bulls 41-14 on Saturday and extend its best start to a season in 27 years. The Panthers (4-0 in Big East) are 7-1 for the first time since 1982 - Dan Marino's senior season and the last time Pitt was ranked No. 1.
"They just whooped up. They whooped us," Coach Jim Leavitt said. "They're a better team than we are right now. ... We've got to play defense, and we didn't play defense. We've played really poor defense since the second half of the Cincinnati game."
South Florida (5-2, 1-2), the Big East's most-penalized team continued the trend and repeatedly hurt itself early with penalties, starting with the very first play and drew the game's first eight penalties, had as many penalty yards (40) as offensive yards (40) late in the first quarter and ended with 71 penalty yards. The Bulls ended up being outgained 486-212.
Mike Ford scored for the Bulls on a 3-yard TD run, his fourth touchdown of the season to cut the lead to 14-7 in the first, but USf didn't score again until late in the fourth when Evan Landi completed a 20 yard touchdown pass, the first of his career to Dotavia Bogan with 10 seconds remaining.
USF Head Coach Jim Leavitt
"They just whooped us and were much better than us today."
"We let receivers get behind us and we didn't get on top of our verticals."
"Pitt deserves credit, they did a great job. Their line of scrimmage was much better than ours and they are a very good football team."
"The second quarter was the whole game, at 21-7 I thought we still had a chance, especially if we would have been able to cut it to 21-10."
"We got stuck in too many third and longs and had too many key penalties."
"We haven't played any defense lately and that's the first thing we need to take care of."
"After getting beat this bad, there isn't much we can do about it now, but tomorrow we will meet and prepare for next week."
"I thought this would be a really good game, so I was surprised."
USF Defensive End George Selvie
"We were surprised as to how much they passed today."
"We didn't have any pressure and they had mass protection and were able to find guys deep."
"I got cut down on a play in the first half and was a little dinged up the rest of the game, but I should be good for next week."
"We just have to move forward now and look to next week."
USF Middle Linebacker Kion Wilson
"They didn't punt once today, and that just can't happen."
"I thought [on defense] the communication was there, but the execution wasn't."
- The loss to Pitt drops USF's record to 5-2 and 1-2 in BIG EAST play.
- The loss drops USF's all-time record against Pitt to 3-4 and 2-2 when playing at Heinz Field.
- This season USF is honoring former player Keeley Dorsey by wearing his No. 10 jersey ... Senior RB Mo Plancher donned the jersey against Pitt ... Dorsey passed away after a team conditioning workout on Jan. 17, 2007 ... This season would have been his senior year.
- RB Moise Plancher, S Nate Allen, LB Kion Wilson, QB Matt Grothe and DE George Selvie were USF's captains... Captains will be announced throughout the season by coach Jim Leavitt on a game-by-game basis.
- Offensive starters were: WR Carlton Mitchell, LT Jeremiah Warren, LG Chaz Hine, C Sampson Genus, RG Zach Hermann, RT Jake Sims, TE Ben Busbee, WR Sterling Griffin, WR Dontavia Bogan, QB B.J. Daniels, RB Mo Plancher
- Defensive starters were: LE Craig Marshall, NT Terrell McClain, DT Aaron Harris, RE George Selvie, LB Sabbath Joseph, LB Chris Robinson, LB Kion Wilson, LC Quenton Washington, SS Mistral Raymond, FS Nate Allen, RC Jerome Murphy.
- Junior RB Jamar Taylor returned from injury (knee) making his first appearance at the 4:25 in the first quarter. He had 5 carries for 28 yards.
- BJ Daniels 41-yard completion to Sterling Griffin was the 19th offensive play of 25 yards or more. (12 pass, 7 run) Daniels has accounted for 12 of those plays either via run or pass.
- RB Mike Ford ran for his fourth touchdown of the season. The touchdown is the 21st rushing TD of his career and 22nd overall. Ford had two rushing touchdowns in the Bulls 48-37 win at Heinz Field in the Bulls 2007 regular season finale.
- With the touchdown Mike Ford moved into sole possession of third place on USF's career rushing touchdown list.
- Griffin's reception was the second longest of his career. His longest was his 73-yard TD reception at Florida State.
- LB Kion Wilson led the Bulls with 14 tackles. He now has a team best 50 tackles on the season.
- Back-up QB Evan Landi made his debut after only playing as a receiver and play holder previously.
- With 10 seconds remaining, Evan Landi completed a 20 yard touchdown pass, the first of his career to Dotavia Bogan. The TD reception was the Bogan's third of the season.