RB Brandon Miree, who hadn't played since the Sept. 20 loss at Toledo because of a stress fracture in his leg, ran for 188 yards, and two scores in the 30-16 victory over Temple. The senior had a 76-yard run in addition to his touchdown plays of 7 and 2 yards. "/>

Pittsburgh Panthers Team Report

Pittsburgh Panthers Team Report

Pittsburgh got its running game back Saturday -- whether it's "just in time" or "too late" is a matter of perspective. <br><br> RB Brandon Miree, who hadn't played since the Sept. 20 loss at Toledo because of a stress fracture in his leg, ran for 188 yards, and two scores in the 30-16 victory over Temple. The senior had a 76-yard run in addition to his touchdown plays of 7 and 2 yards.

Miree could have been used the week before when the Panthers seemed helpless on the ground in their loss to West Virginia. But he has recovered in time for the Panthers' Big East showdown against Miami this Saturday night in Pittsburgh.

"He is a big element that we have been missing.," said Coach Walt Harris on the return of Miree after an eight-game absence.

The Panthers took care of business against the Owls, holding off Temple's upset bid in the fourth quarter. After pulling out to a 21-3 halftime lead, the Panthers, who ran for a season-high 253 yards, saw the Owls cut the deficit to 21-16 with 7:14 left in the game. But the Panthers responded with a 76-yard touchdown drive, scoring a clinching touchdown on a 3-yard pass to WR Larry Fitzgerald. The pass extended Fitzgerald's NCAA-record streak of games with a touchdown reception to 17.

Another new starter for the Panthers was senior FS Corey Humphries, who made his first start of the season and led the Panthers with 11 tackles. He also was credited with breaking up one pass.

One worrisome statistic for the game was that the Panthers were only 3-for-11 on third-down conversions. Against Miami, opponents have converted only 31 of 147 third downs (21 percent) thus far this season.

A victory over the Hurricanes would give the Panthers, 8-3 overall and 5-1 in the Big East, at least a share of the conference lead. They also would get the BCS bowl berth that goes with it if they finish more than five spots ahead of West Virginia in the final BCS standings. The Mountaineers own the head-to-head victory but could lose out in the tiebreaker because of their four losses. That's assuming the Mountaineers beat Temple in their season finale.

"To play for the Big East championship is huge," Harris said. "We've been on a long road, climbing back. We're just thankful this is our opportunity."

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