Pitt rolls by Rutgers, takes over league lead

October, 23, 2010
10/23/10
3:47
PM ET
It's just like I said all offseason: Pitt is the best team in the Big East.

OK, that might be a bit premature, and we now see that things change greatly from week to week in this most unpredictable league. But who is playing better in the Big East right now than the Panthers?

They blew out Rutgers 41-21 on Saturday, and now last week's 45-14 rout at Syracuse looks a little more impressive, doesn't it? Pitt is standing as the only 2-0 team in the Big East and has certainly improved from its lousy nonconference performances.

The big difference? The passing game. Tino Sunseri has continued to progress and has been really good the past two games. On Saturday, he was 21-of-27 for 327 yards and three touchdowns with one interception -- and that interception was a fluke that bounced off Ray Graham's hands on a short screen pass. Maybe more importantly, Sunseri finally established a connection with star receiver Jon Baldwin, who had five catches for 139 yards and a score. Baldwin made some spectacular grabs in traffic, but Sunseri also put the ball where only his receiver could make a play on it.

When the passing game is going along with the running game -- Dion Lewis finally had a breakout day with 130 yards rushing -- this offense is pretty hard to stop. And that's evidenced by the 86 points in the past two games. Pitt still has an irritating habit of not finishing off drives in the red zone -- it should have had at least two more touchdowns Saturday -- but when you top 40 points it's hard to quibble.

The story didn't change much for Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights still had all kinds of trouble on offense, managing just 203 yards (and much of that came late). The defense and special teams kept them in it for a half, but the defense finally buckled in the second half with no help from its teammates with the ball. You wonder if the Eric LeGrand saga took something out of this team, leading to a second-half falloff.

Or it might just be that Pitt is the best team in the Big East.

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