PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Pittsburgh Panthers jumped out to a 21-point halftime lead and never looked back as they handed Grambling State its first loss of the season by a margin of 34-10 at Heinz Field.
After trading three-and-outs to open the contest, Pitt’s (2-0) offense took advantage of two stalled offensive possessions and a blocked punt en route to a 21-0 lead after 11 minutes of action. Facing a three-touchdown deficit, the Tiger offense finally came alive and put together a five-play, 56-yard drive that was capped off with a diving touchdown catch by wideout Clyde Edwards. The PAT by Tim Manuel was good as GSU trailed 21-7 to close out the scoring in the first quarter.
Sophomore defensive end Christian Anthony recorded his first career sack at the 9:37 mark of the second quarter to give GSU possession of the ball at the Pitt 17. Unfortunately, the Tiger offense couldn’t take advantage of the field position as the Tigers were forced to settle for a 35-yard field goal with 6:41 left in the first half.
Pittsburgh struck again on their ensuing drive and moved ahead 28-10 when tight end Nate Byham caught a short pass from quarterback Kevan Smith and scampered 50 yards into the endzone untouched. Down by 18 points after the score, GSU shot itself in the foot on the following possession when a tipped pass was intercepted by Pitt’s Nate Phillips. Phillips returned the ball to GSU’s 4 yard line but that would be as far as they would get as GSU’s defense held ground and forced Pitt into settling for a 20-yard field goal late in the half for a 31-10 lead.
The second half saw little scoring from both teams as Pitt added a 27-yard field goal in the third quarter. Grambling State had several chances to put a dent in Pittsburgh’s lead as they moved into scoring position several times throughout the half. However, the Tigers came up short on each occasion as the Panthers managed to close out the contest with a victory.
For the game, Pittsburgh finished with 321 (202 P, 119 R) yards of offense while Grambling State netted 239 (155 P, 84 R) yards. Freshman running back Cornelius Walker led GSU on the ground with 54 yards on 12 carries while Edwards finished as GSU’s top receiver with five receptions for 59 yards.
The Tigers will have next weekend off and will return to the field for a nationally televised home opener (ESPNU) against Alabama A&M on Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. in Robinson Stadium.
* Clyde Edwards’ 29-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter brought him to within eight touchdowns of being GSU’s all-time leader for career receiving touchdowns.
* Sophomore defensive end Christian Anthony recorded his first career sack in the second quarter and GSU’s first sack of the year.
* Junior John Carter logged his first career interception in the fourth quarter.