The game started off with rainy conditions--perfect for two teams that like to run the football. Gradually, as the sun has come out, so has Pitt. The Panthers hold a 13-6 lead over Buffalo at the half.
Pitt is having marginal success running the football today--positive yardage, but nothing to suggest they're in total control at this point. Rushel Shell leads Pitt with 31 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown. Ray Graham has 27 yards on 7 carries.
Pitt's passing game hasn't factored in at all. Tino Sunseri has completed 2-of-6 passes for 42 yards, 41 of them coming on a screen pass to Shell.
After being forced to punt on its first series, the Panthers took advantage of good field position to be in control. Their first scoring drive only went 17 yards, but the Panthers got on board with a 45-yard field goal from Kevin Harper. Harper added a 22-yarder in the first quarter, thanks in part to Shell. The freshman running back was responsible for all 61 yards on the second field goal drive, including a 41-yard screen pass to set Pitt up at the Buffalo 6.
Buffalo punted 3 times in the first half, but on their fourth drive of the game, the Bulls looked Iike they were getting in a rhythm. Pitt was flagged for a defensive pass interference call, which took the Bulls into Pitt territory for just the second time of the game. Two plays after that penalty, Jason Hendricks steeped up with an interception, on a pass thrown directly at him.
Hendricks returned the interception to the Buffalo 27. Pitt took eight plays and nearly five minutes of clock to score its first touchdown of the game. Shell ran it in from four yards out, giving Pitt a 13-0 lead. It looked at that point that Pitt's ball control s wearing down Buffalo; a 12:19 to 8:49 edge at that point.
Despite turning the ball over on its previous series, Buffalo established some momentum again. This time, they finished it off with some points, a 45-yard field goal from Patrick Clarke. The Buffalo defense answered, holding Pitt to its second three-and-out of the game.
Buffalo answered in its final series of the half with another 11-play drive. The Bulls took it just 34 yards, and even converted two fourth down attempts. Clarke added a 41-yarder to make it 13-6. Following Pitt's touchdown, Pitt had the ball for 59 seconds, while Buffalo possessed the ball for 7:35.