Pitt hands No. 21 Rutgers first Big East loss
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Using its stingy defense and an efficient Tino Sunseri, Pittsburgh kept its postseason hopes alive.
Rutgers, meanwhile, will still have a chance to win its first Big East title on Thursday.
Sunseri threw two touchdown passes in the Panthers' 27-6 win over No. 21 Rutgers.
Sunseri was 21-of-39 for 227 yards, while Ray Graham ran for 113 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries for the Panthers (5-6, 2-4 Big East), who need to beat South Florida next Saturday to become bowl eligible.
Mike Shanahan hauled in five balls for 62 yards and a touchdown in the victory.
Gary Nova completed just 18-of-37 passes for 157 yards with a touchdown and interception for Rutgers (9-2, 5-1), which can still win the conference title outright with a victory against Louisville on Thursday.
The Cardinals lost to Connecticut in triple overtime earlier on Saturday.
In their last game at Heinz Field as a member of the Big East, Pittsburgh jumped out to a 21-0 halftime advantage.
After going three-and-out over their first four drives, the Panthers finally found an offensive rhythm on their fifth possession.
Sunseri hit J.P. Holtz for a 28-yard reception on the initial snap of an 8- play, 80-yard trek, which was capped when Shanahan snagged Sunseri's floater in the back-left corner of the end zone on a 16-yard score.
Sunseri fumbled the snap at the Rutgers' 2-yard line two possessions later, but Rutgers didn't capitalize and quickly booted the ball back to the home team.
Pittsburgh then received the ball at the 28-yard line and Graham concluded the quick 3-play march with a 1-yard TD plunge with 2:21 left on the first-half clock.
Jawan Jamison, who returned from an ankle injury but ran for just 14 yards on nine touches, picked up 13 on the first snap of Rutgers' ensuing drive for just his team's second first down of the half.
Rutgers punted the ball back four snaps later and Sunseri lofted a 13-yard score in the waning seconds of the half to Ed Tinker in the back left corner of the end zone for a 21-0 bulge.
Kevin Harper nailed a 39-yard field goal midway through the third before the Scarlet Knights finally got on the board later in the frame when Nova fired an 11-yard TD pass to Brandon Coleman. Nova's pass on the two-point conversion was unsuccessful.
Harper booted through a 25-yard field goal to conclude the scoring with just over six minutes to go in the fourth.
Rutgers fell to 5-1 on the road this season ... Both teams were held to 5- of-16 on third down conversions ... Pittsburgh outgained the Scarlet Knights, 365-207 ... Tim Wright caught six passes for 66 yards for Rutgers.
11/24 19:54:38 ET