A videotaped message from Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford offered Pittsburgh a warm welcome to the conference in 2013 moments before the Panthers hosted conference power Virginia Tech Saturday.
Somehow — after two baffling, listless losses to open the Paul Chryst era — Pitt looks ready to make the move.
Ray Graham rushed for 94 yards and two scores and added an 18-yard touchdown reception as the Panthers upset the 13th-ranked Hokies in a 35-17 romp.
It couldn’t have gotten much worse for the Panthers (1-2), who began the season getting upset at home by Youngstown State then blown out on the road at Cincinnati.
Yet Chryst, the program’s third coach in as many seasons, didn’t panic. Even with the seemingly surging Hokies (2-1) looming, he told his players things would be fine so long as they stuck to the plan.
Tino Sunseri passed for 283 yards and three touchdowns and freshman running back Rushel Shell added 157 yards as Pitt ended the nation’s longest road winning streak at 13. The Panthers raced to a 21-0 lead by forcing four turnovers.
Louisville 39, North Carolina 34 — Teddy Bridgewater threw for three first-half touchdowns and the No. 19 Cardinals (3-0) scored on their first six possessions, but they had to hold off the visiting Tar Heels with a late goal-line stand.
Bryn Renner settled down after a rough first half to rally the Tar Heels (1-2) from a 36-7 deficit with four second-half touchdowns, including a screen pass to Romar Morris for a 50-yard touchdown with 4:23 remaining.
North Carolina’s Norkeithus Otis then forced Adrian Bushell to fumble the ensuing kickoff, and the Tar Heels recovered at the Cardinals’ 10. But after moving to the 3, North Carolina was penalized for a false start and Renner’s final pass two plays later was broken up by Andrew Johnson in the end zone.
Clemson 41, Furman 7 — Tajh Boyd threw for 310 yards and three touchdown passes, Sammy Watkins had a 58-yard touchdown run, and the No. 11 Tigers (3-0) won their 30th straight over the visiting Paladins (0-3) of the FCS.
Georgia Tech 56, Virginia 20 — Tevin Washington ran for three touchdowns and threw a 70-yard scoring pass to Zach Laskey on the first snap, setting up an early barrage by the Yellow Jackets (2-1, 1-1 ACC) in a rout of the Cavaliers (2-1, 0-1) in Atlanta.
Florida St. 52, Wake Forest 0 — Chris Thompson scored on runs of 74 and 80 yards on successive first-half carries to lead the No. 5 Seminoles (3-0, 1-0) past the Demon Deacons (2-1, 1-1) in Tallahassee.
Miami 38, Bethune-Cookman 10 — Duke Johnson finished with four touchdowns, scoring them three different ways and leading the host Hurricanes (2-1) past the Wildcats (2-1).
N.C. State 31, South Alabama 7 — Mike Glennon threw three touchdown passes to lead the host Wolfpack (2-1) past the Jaguars (1-2). Glennon finished 24 of 34 for 257 yards.
Duke 54, North Carolina Central 17 — Sean Renfree passed for 274 yards and three touchdowns to power the host Blue Devils (2-1) past the Eagles (1-2).