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Record ESPNU audience watches Pitt upend Virginia Tech

Mike Shanahan makes a diving catch against Virginia Tech.

Mike Shanahan makes a diving catch against Virginia Tech.

Sept. 19, 2012

The Pitt football team's resounding 35-17 victory over No. 13 Virginia Tech this past Saturday was significant in many ways.

  • It was Paul Chryst's first victory as head coach of the Panthers.

  • It halted Virginia Tech's ACC-record 13-game road winning streak, the longest in the country at the time.

  • It was the Panthers' fourth consecutive victory over the Hokies, who will become an annual opponent again next season when Pitt joins the Atlantic Coast Conference.

There was one other significant footnote about Pitt's win: it was ESPNU's most-viewed noon college football telecast ever, averaging 679,000 viewers.

That record ESPNU college football audience saw the Panthers rack up their highest offensive production in 12 years. Pitt gashed Virginia Tech for 537 yards. Big East Offensive Player of the Week Tino Sunseri threw for 283 yards with three touchdowns, while running backs Ray Graham and Rushel Shell spurred a ground game that compiled 254 rushing yards.

On the defensive side of the ball, Pitt limited Virginia Tech's traditionally strong running game to just 59 yards. Perhaps the critical point in the game came in the third quarter when the Panthers, leading 21-10, stuffed the Hokies' run game on 3rd-and-1 and then again on 4th-and-1 in Pitt territory. The Panthers then drove 65 yards for a TD to go up 28-10.

Pitt annually benefits from tremendous ESPN exposure, typically playing at least 10 games a year before live national or regional TV crews.



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