Jared Holley and Todd Thomas combine for a tackle.
The Panthers are a young team in the first year of a new system, so an extra month of bowl practices would be extremely important to the team's future. With the remainder of the schedule featuring West Virginia and Syracuse, the Panthers were desperately in need of a win today as they sat at just 4-5.
After losing both of their road games this season, it was going to be a tough win without star running back Ray Graham, but the team came through when it was needed, beating Louisville by a 21-14 score.
After a hard fought, low scoring game the Panthers were forced to punt with five minutes to go with a 14-7 lead, but Louisville return man Eli Rogers fumbled the ball and Pitt's Drew Carswell recovered. The fumble recovery allowed the Panthers to eat up most of the remainder of the clock as well as score what ended up being the winning touchdown.
The Panthers out-gained Louisville 396-280 behind a strong performance on the ground. The team ran for 200 yards with Zach Brown rushing for 86 yards on 15 carries and true freshman Isaac Bennett rushing for 69 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
The passing game was also solid as Tino Sunseri hit 16 of 22 attempts for 196 yards and a touchdown without throwing an interception. Sophomore receiver Devin Street made some big plays on his way to six catches for 101 yards, and Mike Shanahan caught three passes for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively Aaron Donald led the way with four tackles and a pair of sacks. Max Gruder was the leading tackler with eight, including seven solo and one for a loss. Ejuan Price added another sack and Carl Fleming picked off a Teddy Bridgewater pass.
The Panthers are off next week and will resume their season on Friday Nov. 25 at West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl.