To say that the Pittsburgh Panthers had to play a near-perfect game Saturday to defeat No. 13 Virginia Tech at home was about as accurate as it gets
Pittsburgh lost its first two games to start the 2012 season. One of those games was to Cincinnati by 24 points and the other was to Youngstown State by 14 points.
But the perfect game took place.
Pittsburgh forced four turnovers, rushed the ball for 254 yards and quarterback Tino Sunseri threw for 283 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-17 beatdown of Virginia Tech at Heinz Field.
Saturday was the day when Pittsburgh put together the perfect performance, and it just so happened to come against a top-15 team.
Freshman standout Rushel Shell rushed for 157 yards on 23 carries; Ray Graham added 94 on 24 carries. Pittsburgh used that rushing attack early and often, dominating the line of scrimmage to set the tone of the entire contest.
Pittsburgh's defense made plays against Hokies' quarterback Logan Thomas, forcing three interceptions from the talented quarterback. Thomas went 14-of-31 for 265 yards while receiving nothing from the rushing attack.
Virginia Tech ran the ball 26 times total but only earned 59 yards. If you take away Thomas' 28 yards, the Hokies would have only totaled 31 yards.
Sunseri has struggled throughout his career at Pittsburgh, and he's received some well-deserved criticism. However, his performance on Saturday is what you would expect from a three-year starting senior quarterback.
The victory was Panthers' head coach Paul Chryst's first victory with the program. What a memorable victory it turned out to be.