Sept. 19, 2009
PITTSBURGH (AP)--Dion Lewis and Ray Graham each scored a touchdown and Pittsburgh quickly turned a bizarre failed punt by Navy into a pivotal touchdown during a 27-14 victory over the Midshipmen on Saturday night.
The Panthers (3-0) slowed Navy's trademark running game while improving to 3-0 for the first time since 2000 and only the fourth time since former star Dan Marino's senior season in 1982. The other 3-0 starts were in 1989 and 1991.
Pitt used up nearly seven minutes at the start of the game on an 89-yard drive that ended with Bill Stull's 6-yard scoring pass to Oderick Turner, one play after Stull found Jonathan Baldwin on a 22-yard completion. Baldwin had five catches for 100 yards by halftime and ended with six for 111 yards.
Baldwin's 18-yard reception and tight end Nate Byham's 24-yard catch highlighted a 59-yard drive that ended with Graham's 15-yard run and put Pitt up 14-7 early in the second quarter. Graham, who was playing high school football last season, took over on the drive from Lewis, who came into the game as the nation's No. 3 rusher.
Lewis, another freshman, ran for 79 yards on 23 carries and scored on a 6-yard run after Navy not only couldn't get off a punt, but lost 23 yards on the play without the kick being blocked.
Not long after Navy kicker Joe Buckley was wide right on a 32-yard field goal try that would have cut Pitt's lead to 4, Kyle Delahooke mishandled the snap while attempting to punt on fourth-and-5 from the Navy 38.
Delahooke made it worse by attempting to kick the ball while it was sitting on the turf--a 15-yard penalty that, combined with the 8-yard loss on the play, gave Pitt the ball at the Navy 15. Lewis needed two plays to score his fifth touchdown in three games.
Pitt had its own unique play in the quarter, a 20-yard completion by Stull to himself on a tipped pass, but he fumbled near the goal line and Navy recovered at its own 1.
Navy (1-2), which led the nation in rushing the last four seasons, never got much offense going and was held to 129 yards on the ground, only 3 yards more than Pitt. Ricky Dobbs
was only 6 of 21 for 89 yards and was held to 21 yards rushing.
Stull went 17 of 24 for 245 yards for Pitt, which led 369-218 in total offense while beating Navy for the second year in a row. The Midshipmen were playing in Pittsburgh for the first time since pulling off a major upset, a 48-45 victory in double overtime two years ago in which they ran for 331 yards. Pitt won at Navy 42-21 last season.