#20/20 STONY BROOK 32, COLGATE 31 | BOX SCORE | WATCH HIGHLIGHTS
Miguel Maysonet rushed for a career-high 198 yards as the Stony Brook football team topped Colgate, 32-31, before a standing-room only crowd of 10,278 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Saturday evening.
Maysonet rushed nine times for 53 yards on the winning drive for Stony Brook (3-1), which went 75 yards in 12 plays to regain the lead with 3:31 remaining. The Seawolves, who lost 28-17 to Syracuse last week after leading at halftime, raced to a 17-0 lead against the Raiders and led 17-7 at one point.
Junior Marcus Coker led the Seawolves with two touchdowns. Senior Cedrick Moore made nine tackles, including a game-saving tackle on Jordan McCord after he gained 33 yards, giving Colgate a first down on the Stony Brook 12 early in the fourth quarter. The Raiders settled for a field goal for their only points of the quarter.
Stony Brook travels to face Army (0-3) for the final non-conference game of the regular season. Next week's game will the Seawolves' fifth contest against a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) school and will be televised on CBS Sports Network at 12:00pm.
CHARLESTON SOUTHERN 23, SHORTER 20 | BOX SCORE
Charleston Southern forced three turnovers and rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns in the second half to end its 15-game losing streak with a 23-20 win over Shorter University on Saturday afternoon at Barron Stadium.
The Bucs dominated the third quarter to seize control in a tight game at the half. CSU put together drives of 61 and 67 yards, all on the ground, to push around their Division II foe and build a 23-14 lead.
With the win, the Bucs moves to 1-3 on the season, while Shorter fall to 2-2. The win ends CSU's 15-game losing streak, which dated back to November of 2010. It also gives the Bucs momentum and a positive to turn heading into their off week and Big South Conference play in two weeks.
The Bucs were able to put together positives in all three phases of the game, forcing three turnovers and holding Shorter to a pair of field goals after the Hawks moved the ball inside the Bucs' 5-yard line.
No stop was bigger senior Cornelius Sterling's third down tackle for loss of Hawks' sophomore quarterback Eric Dodson. With CSU leading 23-17 in the final 10 minutes, Sterling engulfed Dodson in the backfield on third-and-goal from the Bucs' 2. The stop, paired with an illegal participation penalty on fourth down forced Shorter to settle for a field goal with right at seven minutes left to cut the lead to final score.
The defense allowed 173 yards on the Hawks two drives in the fourth quarter, but only six points.
CSU's special teams and offense put things together, especially in the second half, to help the Bucs look like a complete team for the first time since the first half of their opener. The Bucs recovered a fumble on a muffed punt to set up their first touchdown, a 46-yard strike from Malcolm Dixon to Chase Jones early in the second quarter.
The special teams also got a punt return for a touchdown out of senior cornerback Charles James, but the play was called back on a penalty for continuing to participate after losing the helmet.
Charleston Southern turned to a new offensive wrinkle to jumpstart its option offense. Running back Trey Dorsey took as many as two dozen snaps to give CSU four running backs in its option.
The Bucs chewed up the game clock and yards in protecting their lead late, including the final 6:58 off the game clock to keep the ball away from the Hawks.
The game didn't start the way CSU wanted. Following a pair of punts to start the game, Shorter put together a 13-play, 73 yard drive to take a 7-0 lead on a two year run by Bradley Moon. The drive took almost eight minutes off the clock as CSU started the game with a pair of three-and-outs.
Punter Cameron Mitchell kept the Hawks' option attack backed up with punts of 51 and 52 yards in the quarter. Shorter kept the football for 19:15 of the first half and took a 14-10 lead into the locker room.
Dorsey led the way for the Bucs, carrying 16 times for 52 yards. Gabe Johnson added seven carries for 35 yards. The Bucs had runs of 23, 24, 13 (twice), and 10 during the third quarter, when they rushed 15 times for 148 yards.
CSU completed just two passes. Dixon completed 2-of-9 for 60 yards and the touchdown to Jones.
Dodson led the Hawks with 136 yards on 19 carried, while Moon added 98 yards on 12 touches. Both had runs of over 60 yards, but neither was or a touchdown. Dodson was 5-of-7 passing for 130 yards and a touchdown.
Linebacker Aaron Brown led the middle of the CSU defense with seven tackles.
Charleston Southern opens Big South Conference play on Oct. 6 against Stony Brook University. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. in Stony Brook, N.Y.
#13/16 LEHIGH 28, LIBERTY 26 | BOX SCORE | WATCH HIGHLIGHTS
For the second-straight home game, Liberty came within inches of having a chance to upend a ranked opponent, but the Flames fell just short as No. 16/13 Lehigh escaped with a 28-26 win, Saturday night at Williams Stadium.
With the victory, Lehigh opens its season with a 4-0 record for the first time since 2001. The loss drops Liberty to 0-4 for the first time since 1982 following their third-straight setback to a Top 25 program. The evening capped a weekend of celebration on Liberty Mountain as it was part of the annual Athletics Hall of Fame weekend.
The Flames took the opening position of the game and managed to get to the Lehigh 36-yard line where Liberty elected to go for it on a fourth-and-six play. Quarterback Josh Woodrum tried to find an open receiver over the middle, but his short-yardage pass was picked off by linebacker John Mahoney. The Flames' seventh turnover of the season led to the first seven points of the game, as Lehigh quickly scored on a four-play, 50-yard drive.
The key play was a 30-yard completion from Michael Colvin to Zach Barket which put the Mountain Hawks into the red zone. On the next play, back-up tailback Keith Sherman took the handoff and scored from one yard out to take a 7-0 lead with 9:44 left in the first quarter.
The score remained the same until early in the second quarter when another lengthy passing play led to a one-yard scoring run for the visitors.
Liberty's defense flushed Colvin from the pocket on a second-and-19 play, but the senior was able to scramble and gain a few extra seconds to find an open receiver downfield. The receiver he found was All-American Ryan Spadola, who caught a deep pass on the opposite side of the field and broke a few tackles to reach the Flames' one-yard line. On the next play, Colvin called his own number and scored from one yard out to push the Mountain Hawks' lead to 14-0 with 12:53 left to play before halftime.
The Flames finally answered back late in the second half after a stop on fourth down play gave Liberty possession at its own 45-yard line. Lehigh faced second-and-one at the Liberty 45-yard line, but the Flames defense forced an incomplete pass and stopped a Sherman rush up the middle.
The Flames quickly moved down field on to sizeable passes from Woodrum. The first was a 17-yard reception by Pat Kelly on a third-and-10 play to keep the drive alive. Three plays later, Woodrum found Brandon Apon open over the middle and the tight end raced downfield for his third career touchdown reception. The 35-yard pass play trimmed Lehigh's lead in half, 14-7, with 4:56 left to play in the opening half.
Liberty's defense continued to challenge Lehigh, forcing the visitors to give the ball back on their second three-and-out series of the evening. The Flames then took to their ground game to even the contest before the halftime break. Liberty managed to knot the score at 14-14 with 47 seconds left before intermission thanks to a pair of long carries by its set of running backs.
The first was a 36-yard carry by Aldreakis Allen, who got to the far side of the field for a first down on his longest run of the year. Two plays later, Sirchauncey Holloway found a seam and scored from 22 yards out, giving him his 23rd career rushing touchdown and second of the season to tie the game at the break.
The Flames held the edge in most of the statistical categories during the first 30 minutes of play, including a 235-177 total offensive yard lead. Liberty also led in first downs (10-6), more rushing yards (115-18) and time of possession (19:31-10:29). The only offensive category Lehigh led at the half was passing, with Colvin completing 11-of-15 attempts for 159 yards. Woodrum was 10-of-14 for 109 yards, while Brian Hudson completed his lone pass for 11 yards.
Allen was the game's leading rusher following 30 minutes of play, with nine carriers for 75 yards, followed by Holloway's eight carries for 48 yards. Lehigh's limited run game was led by Barket, who had four rushing attempts for eight yards. Spadola's 58-yard reception in the first half allowed him to finish the first 30 minutes as the top receiver with three catches for 60 yards. Ryan Ferguson was Liberty's leading receiver with three receptions for 26 yards.
The Flames' stout defense continued to control the pace of play, allowing Lehigh only 40 total offensive yards during the third quarter.
Liberty managed to piece together a pair of seven-plus play drives, the second of which led to Liberty's first lead since the second quarter of their last home game, Sept. 8 against Norfolk State. The Flames penetrated Lehigh's red zone for the third time of the night, but the Mountain Hawks were able to come up with a stop of their own when Tim Newton sacked Woodrum on a third-and-five play from the Lehigh 11-yard line.
John Lunsford knocked down a 32-yard field with 1:36 left to play in the third period, giving Liberty a 17-14 lead and marking the first time that Lehigh had trailed during the 2012 season.
The game pattern continued, resulting in Liberty doubling its lead to six points with 9:06 left in the game. The Flames forced their second-straight three-and-out series and then had a drive stall at the Lehigh 22-yard line.
Woodrum took pressure on the final two plays of the drive before a 40-yard Lunsford field goal. The first was a broken-down play where the rookie quarterback avoided a sack before finding Allen for a four-yard passing gain. The second found Woodrum tucking the ball and getting to the middle of the field on a five-yard quarterback scramble to set up Lunsford's second field goal of the night.
The visitors more than doubled their second half offensive output on a single play, which put Lehigh on top 21-20 with 7:41 left to play. Following their second timeout of the half, the Mountain Hawks kept the ball in the hands of their quarterback up the middle, who was able to score on a 68-yard draw play to put the visitors up by one.
The momentum continued to swing in the visitors' favor, as Lehigh turned a second Liberty turnover into seven additional points.
On a third-and-second play, Woodrum's pass over the middle was tipped, intercepted by Billy Boyko and returned 39 yards by the middle linebacker for a touchdown to extend Lehigh's lead to 28-20 with 6:06 left in the game.
The Flames used the game's remaining time to methodically move downfield and find the end zone for the third time on the evening. Solid running plays by both Allen and Holloway set up a three-yard quarterback keeper by Woodrum to pull the Flames within two, 28-26, with 59 seconds left in the game.
On the ensuing two-point conversion attempt, Woodrum tried to get a pass to Ferguson just in front of the goal line, but Bryan Andrews was able to get his hand in front of the pass and stop the potential tying play.
The Flames finished as the statistical leader in each category except the one on the final scoreboard. Liberty outgained Lehigh, 488 to 301 yards, and finished with a 42:25-17:35 time of possession advantage. The Flames also finished as the game's leader in first downs (23-9), rushing yards (241-106) and passing yards (247-195).
Allen and Holloway became the first pair of Liberty running backs to rush for 100 yards in the same game since Rashad Jennings (101 yards) and Zach Terrell (115 yards) against St. Francis, Pa., on Sept. 29, 2007.
Allen recorded his fifth career 100-yard game by rushing 18 times for 125 yards, followed by Holloway's 20 carries for 107 yards.
Colvin led the Mountain Hawks' limited rushing attack with five carries for 77 yards, with 68 of those yards coming on his touchdown run.
Woodrum completed 20-of-27 passing attempts for 236 yards and a touchdown, while finishing with two interceptions. Colvin was 14-of-24 for 195 yards.
Kelly missed his fourth career 100-yard game by one yard, totaling seven catches for 99 yards to lead the Flames.
Four different Lehigh receivers each finished with three catches, and Spadola led the way with 60 receiving yards. Lehigh had three defenders finish with double-digit tackles, led by Boyko's 14-stop game. O'Brien followed with 13 tackles, while Sam Loughery had 11 tackles.
Scott Hyland was Liberty's top defender with six tackles, followed by four stops each for Kenny Scott, Nick Sigmon and Greg Schuster.
Following a bye week, Liberty will open Big South Conference play against Gardner-Webb on Oct. 6 at Williams Stadium. The game will finish off another celebratory weekend on Liberty Mountain, as it will cap off the university's annual Homecoming Weekend. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.
TOLEDO 38, COASTAL CAROLINA 28 | BOX SCORE
Coastal Carolina quarterback Aramis Hillary set career highs in completions (30), attempts (47) and yards (356), while tying a career-high with three touchdown passes, and gave his team a 21-17 lead in the third quarter. He also got CCU to within three, 31-28, with 8:41 left in the game before Toledo answered with a TD of its own with 4:59 left in the contest to claim a 38-28 decision over the Chanticleers Saturday night at the Glass Bowl.
This marks the fourth consecutive week Hillary has set a career high of some statistic (he threw for a then career-best 274 yards in week one, threw for a then career-best 292 yards in week two and completed a then career-best 24 passes in week three.)
Toledo took the opening kickoff and quickly moved into scoring position, but the Chanticleer defense stiffened to force a field goal. Rocket kicker Jeremiah Detmer's 36-yard attempt sailed wide left.
Coastal's offense road that momentum and never faced a third down en route to an eight-play, 80-yard drive. Jeremy Height had a 20-yard rush and Hillary connected with DeMario Bennett, who had a career-high seven receptions for 80 yards, on a 28-yard pass to the UT one yard line. Height capped the drive with a one-yard rushing touchdown for a 7-0 lead.
Toledo's offense bounced back to reach scoring range on its second possession. Like the first time, Coastal forced a field goal. However, this time Detmer split the uprights from 26 yards out to make the score 7-3. After forcing a Chanticleer punt, Toledo quarterback Terrence Owens opened its drive with a 32-yard completion to Alonzo Russell. Four plays later Owens hit Cordale Scott for a six-yard score to give UT a 10-7 lead.
The teams traded punts before Toledo took a 17-7 lead early in the second quarter. One play after a CCU punt, Owens hit Bernard Reedy on a 43-yard post pattern.
Coastal answered right back as Height made an impressive 30-yard kick return. After three runs by Lorenzo Taliaferro gave CCU a first down, Hillary completed an 18-yard pass to Bennett. Two plays later, Hillary faked a handoff and hit a wide-open Thomas Pauciello for a 25-yard touchdown. The play cut Toledo's lead to 17-14 and marked the first score for Pauciello.
With three minutes left in the first half, Coastal faced fourth and one on the Toledo 16 but it could not convert the fourth-down rush. Neither team could advance the ball to close the second quarter as the first half ended with Toledo up three, 17-14.
To open the third quarter, Coastal had a six-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Hillary completed a 33-yard pass to Tyrell Blanks, who finished with career highs in receptions (6) and yards (78). Then, facing 3rd and eight, Hillary completed a 16-yarder to Pauciello. On the next play, Hillary connected with Bennett for a 19-tard touchdown in the right corner to give CCU a 21-17 lead.
Midway through the third quarter, Toledo took advantage of a 17-yard CCU punt, starting its drive on the CCU 40. After converting a third-and-long, the Rockets regained the lead, 24-21, as Owens rushed for a an eight-yard touchdown. Late in the third quarter, UT took advantage of another special teams play on a CCU punt. After a 40-yard punt, Toledo's Reedy returned the ball 39 yards to the CCU 18. Two plays later, Cassius McDowell found pay dirt from six yards out to give the Rockets a 31-21 lead.
With 10 minutes left in the game, Coastal's sophomore linebacker Quinn Backus stripped and recovered a fumble on the Toledo 49. Backus and Mike McClure, who ranks among the top three in the Big South in tackles, each had 12 stops to lead the CCU defense.
Later in the drive with CCU facing 3rd-and-four, Hillary connected with Blanks for a 17-yard touchdown, the first of the career for Blanks. Alex Catron added the extra point to trim the CCU deficit to three, 31-28.
However, Toledo responded with a 19-yard completion on the first play of its ensuing drive. After six straight rushing plays to move the Rockets to the CCU seven, Owens found Scott for a seven-yard TD, making the score 38-28 with 4:59 left to provide what proved to be the final outcome.
Coastal Carolina travels to Appalachian State next Saturday for a 3:30pm kickoff against the Mountaineers.
FURMAN 31, PRESBYTERIAN 21 | BOX SCORE
The Presbyterian College football team scored 21 points in the second half of its home matchup against Furman on Saturday, but the Paladins held on to an early lead for a 31-21 victory at Bailey Memorial Stadium.
In a tale of two halves, PC (1-3) outgained Furman 226 to 122 yards in the third and fourth quarters. Outside of a PC win in 1979 and a tie in 1977, the result marks the closest margin of victory for Furman since a 22-19 win in Clinton in 1974.
The Paladins went up 14-0 in the opening quarter before taking a 24-0 lead into halftime. Furman added one more touchdown after a PC score to hold off the Blue Hose, despite 14 unanswered points from PC in the fourth quarter.
PC quarterback Tamyn Garrick went for 270 yards through the air to Reese Hannon's 217, but the visitors held PC's rushing attack to 43 yards while racking up 239 yards and four touchdowns on the ground offensively.
The Blue Hose emerged as a different team to start the second half, marching 73 yards on 12 plays for a touchdown. Arthur Williams capped the drive by hauling in a five-yard pass and reaching for the end zone to make the score 24-7. Williams broke the 100-yard mark on the day, catching seven passes for 119 yards.
Furman answered with a marathon drive of its own. The 16-play, 67-yard drive spanned 8:27 and saw Jerodis Williams punch in a short touchdown as the Paladins restored their 24-point lead shortly before the end of the third quarter, 31-7. Williams finished with 136 rushing yards.
A Garrick fumble gave Furman the ball 22 yards away from the end zone early in the fourth, but Paladin penalties and a pass breakup from Branden Leston forced a failed 38-yard field goal attempt.
The Blue Hose offense looked sharp on the next drive en route to a PC touchdown. Garrick took advantage of a defensive offside and hit Williams for a 38-yard bomb before connecting with Anderico Bailey to get in the red zone, one of Bailey's six catches for 88 yards. The play set up a four-yard Michael Ruff rushing touchdown and Joel Ruiz punched in the two-point conversion to cut the Furman lead to 31-15 with 10 minutes left.
A third-down stop gave PC the ball back on its own 14. Facing a quick fourth and short, Garrick rolled out left before breaking back to his right and finding a leaping Williams, who then scampered to complete a 43-yard gain. PC's drive gained new life when a Furman unnecessary roughness call gave the Blue Hose a first down on third and 20. A Ruff rush set up a Demarcus Rouse three-yard score before an unsuccessful two-point conversion attempt pulled PC within 10 points at 31-21.
Unfortunately for the home side, Furman would chew the clock and seal the victory.
Furman's Hank McCloud put the Paladins up by two scores early to begin the game, rushing for touchdowns of 45 and 13 yards in the first quarter. McCloud finished the day with 78 yards and three touchdowns.
PC moved the ball to within five yards of paydirt thanks to a 44-yard Garrick pass to Bailey, but two offensive penalties and a sack pushed the Blue Hose back. Aaron Mayes' 44-yard field goal attempt then fell short, keeping Furman ahead by 14.
The Paladins struck again on their next drive. Furman used a 50-yard Reese Hannon pass to Colin Anderson to eventually set up a seven-yard McCloud touchdown rush, giving Furman a 21-0 advantage midway through the second.
Furman hit a short field goal shortly before the break to take a 24-0 lead into halftime.
Cory White led PC with 11 total tackles, nine coming on solo takedowns. Donelle Williams added 10 tackles while LJ Perry and Bryson Brindle shared a sack.
PC hits the road for its next game, a Saturday night non-conference tilt at Davidson. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m.
NAVY 41, VMI 3 | BOX SCORE
The VMI Keydets opened the scoring with a first quarter field goal, but the Navy Midshipmen scored 41 unanswered points and went on to defeat the Keydets, 41-3, in football action Saturday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md.
Jeff Sexton got the Keydets on the board in the first quarter, drilling a 42-yard field goal at the 8:29 mark to make it a 3-0 contest. The kick was the second-longest field goal of Sexton's career. Navy could only muster three points of their own in the opening period, and after one quarter, the game was tied, 3-3.
The Mids, however, scored 10 points late in the second quarter, had a 20-3 lead after three periods and notched three fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull away for the eventual 41-3 win.
VMI saw running back Jabari Turner run for 67 yards and post 38 yards receiving on a team-high six catches, while Navy's ground game accounted for 403 yards, including 126 from Noah Copeland and 116 from quarterback Trey Miller, who ran for three touchdowns on the day.
Despite Miller's eventual numbers, he coughed up a fumble on the game's opening possession. Chris Harper recovered, and the Keydets showed some steely nerves in their first possession.
VMI quarterback Eric Kordenbrock led the team to 41 yards in 10 plays after the Navy miscue, with first down passes to H.L. Temoney and Turner opening the drive. On third down and 22, Kordenbrock then hooked up with Aaron Lewis on a 17-yard reception, setting up Sexton's 42-yard field goal and a 3-0 Keydet lead with 8:29 left in the opening period.
On the next drive, the Mids drove 82 yards down the field, but the Keydet defense held strong on several Navy plays inside the 10 yard line. Harper and Weston Reber got the big hit of the drive, stopping Miller on a third and goal run and forcing a field goal try. The kick from Nick Sloan was good, knotting the score, 3-3.
A.J. Augustine relieved Kordenbrock on the next VMI possession, after the Keydet starter was hit hard by a Navy lineman and removed from the game. He would return later on, but the Keydets were forced to punt on that possession. A 40-yard return and a holding penalty put Navy inside the VMI 15, but one play later, William Hyman forced Miller's second fumble of the day. Logan Staib fell on the ball and the quarter ended with the score tied, 3-3.
Midway through the second quarter, the Midshipmen jumped out to a 10-3 lead on a seven-yard touchdown run by Miller. The Navy QB had converted a 3rd-and-7 with an 11-yard completion, and a roughing the passer penalty was tacked on to those 11 yards as well.
On the ensuing play, Navy's Gee Gee Greene scampered for 36 yards, the longest play of the season to date for the home team. Miller took the ball into the endzone on the next play, and with 3:12 left in the half, Navy had its first lead of the day, 10-3.
The Mids capped the first half with a nine-play, 39-yard drive over a two minute span. Sloan hit a 35-yard field goal to conclude the first half scoring, and send the game to halftime with his team up, 13-3.
VMI had been outgained 257-110 in the first half, but had taken full advantage of three Navy fumbles, including two recovered by the Keydets.
VMI took the ball first in the second half, and Augustine led the Keydets to two first downs, doing so on a 20-yard pass to Stefawn Ross and a 22-yard quarterback rush. VMI drove to the Navy 30, but could not convert a fourth down try.
Navy got back on the board at the tail end of the third quarter, as Miller drove his team 66 yards in eight plays and capped the drive himself, plunging in from one yard out to give Navy a 20-3 lead. That would be the score heading to the fourth quarter.
After a 27-yard Miller to Greene completion ended the third period, the Navy QB ran 40 yards for a touchdown on the third play of the fourth quarter, pushing the Mids' lead to 27-3.
The teams then exchanged possessions, with the Keydets taking the ball on their own 2 with 8:18 to go. VMI tried a pair of runs, with Derrick Ziglar just getting clear of the goal line to avoid the safety. However, on third and 11, Kordenbrock was picked off by Matt Warrick, who ran the interception back for a seven-yard return for a score, putting Navy up 34-3.
A Maika Polamalu 21-yard touchdown run at the 3:08 mark capped the scoring, and accounted for the final margin of 41-3.
Navy accounted for 510 total yards, including 403 rushing yards as the home team averaged nearly eight (7.9) yards per carry. For VMI, Turner's six catches marked a career high.
Following an off week, VMI returns to Lexington on Oct. 6 as it hosts the Blue Hose of Presbyterian College in the 2012 Big South Conference opener at Foster Stadium. Game time is set for 1:30 p.m., and the game can be seen on ESPN3.
PITTSBURGH 55, GARDNER-WEBB 10 | BOX SCORE
Gardner-Webb controlled the clock and hung tough with Pittsburgh for the first 20 minutes Saturday, but the Panthers broke away with a 20-point burst in the second quarter and scored 28 points in the second half of a 55-10 win.
Pittsburgh (2-2) got 344 yards passing and three touchdowns from Tino Sunseri and and managed 626 total offensive yards -- despite having three touchdowns drives that covered 35 yards or less in the game.
Sunseri completed 18-of-24 passes in an efficient effort, hitting three different receivers five times - including 144 yards and two scores to 6-foot-5 target Mike Shanahan.
The Runnin' Bulldogs had a chance to go on top first, but a promising drive stalled near the Pitt 20-yard line and Trever Austin's 40-yard field goal was just wide right. GWU picked up three first downs on the drive, which started at their own 40 after the defense forced a Panthers' punt.
Pitt took advantage, and standout back Ray Graham took a first-down handoff 78 yards to the house and a deflating early lead for the hosts with 3:23 left in the first quarter.
Momentum was taken back by the Runnin' Bulldogs quickly, with J.J. Hubbard taking the ensuing kickoff back 69 yards to the Pitt 29 and Austin closed the lead to 7-3 with a 41-yard field goal with 1:00 remaining in the opening quarter.
A long kickoff return by Pittsburgh led to a 41-yard field goal by Kevin Harper for a 10-3 lead with 14:32 to play before halftime and the Panthers took advantage of a fumble on a sky kick at the GWU 35 on the kickoff to add to that lead. Freshman Rushel Shell bulled over from the one-yard line after a pair of third-down conversions to make the score 16-3 and Harper's extra point put the Panthers up by two touchdowns.
A strange turn of events gave Pitt excellent field position again. The Panthers appeared to have intercepted a GWU pass at the Bulldogs' 35 on third down, but a video booth review reversed the call and allowed Gardner-Webb a chance to punt. Bo Lindsey's kick was rushed, and sailed out of bounds after only 17 yards to set Pittsburgh up with first down at the GWU 24-yard line.
Sunseri found a wide open Devin Street open in the back corner of the end zone one play later for a 24-yard scoring strike with 8:41 left before half - the Panthers' second touchdown drive of one play.
A 20-yard punt from the GWU end zone gave Pittsburgh a second golden opportunity in as many drives, setting the Panthers up with a first down just 29 yards away from the end zone. The Gardner-Webb defense held, forcing a 43-yard field goal by Harper that was wide left.
Gardner-Webb's defense stepped up again with Pittsburgh driving into scoring range, with Dylan Taylor forcing a fumble on a screen pass to Graham that Kamar Morrison scooped and scored from 65 yards away to trim the Pitt lead to 24-10 with 1:10 left in the half.
Pittsburgh moved quickly back into scoring position, however, riding Sunseri's arm all the way inside the Gardner-Webb five yard line with five seconds left. The Panthers chose to attempt a 22-yard field goal on third down and Harper slipped the kick inside the left upright as time expired for a 27-10 lead at intermission.
The second half saw Sunseri heat up again on the Panthers' first drive, going 4-of-4 for 63 yards and a four-yard scoring strike to Mike Shanahan with 10:16 to play in the quarter. The drive chewed up nearly five minutes in the process.
Gardner-Webb used a pair of Pitt penalties to get inside the Panther 40, but a deep pass by Lucas Beatty was picked off inside the 10-yard line to give the home team possession with 2:18 left in the third.
An end around by Devin Street got Pittsburgh going again, and Sunseri found Shanahan down the right sideline for a 77-yard scoring strike and a 41-10 lead with 1:00 left in the quarter.
A sack and fumble by Beatty early in the fourth quarter gave Pitt first and goal at the Gardner-Webb five, and Isaac Bennett bulled in from three yards out to put the hosts up 48-10 with 13:37 to play.
Bennett capped another scoring drive for the Panthers with 9:03 left, as he coasted into the end zone from 11 yards out to cap a 68-yard march and the final score of the game.
Gardner-Webb was limited to 127 yards of total offense (32 rushing on 29 carries) and gave up 50 points to an FBS opponent for the first time in nine games against the larger subdivision. Beatty finished 14-of-22 for 95 yards and was sacked three times. Juanne Blount had 11 carries for 36 yards on the ground.
Gianni Olivas had eight tackles and Bradley Taylor added seven hits to pace the GWU defense.
Gardner-Webb, off to its first 0-4 start since the 1996 season, will enjoy an open date next weekend before opening Big South Conference play at Liberty on Saturday, October 6 at 3:30 pm.