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September 14, 2013

Notebook: Career milestones reached in Pitt win

Here's a collection of news and notes from Pitt's 49-27 win over New Mexico on Saturday at Heinz Field.

- Pitt scored 21 points in the first quarter. The last time Pitt scored at least 20 points in the opening quarter was Sept. 12, 2009, against Buffalo when the Panthers put up 20 points in the first 15 minutes.

- With five receptions Saturday, Devin Street moved into third place on Pitt's all-time receptions list, passing Larry Fitzgerald's 161 catches from 2001-03. Street currently has 162 receptions in his career.

- Pitt's first five touchdowns were all scored by true freshmen. Tight end Scott Orndoff started things with a 4-yard touchdown catch. Then, receiver Tyler Boyd took a jet sweep for a 33-yard rushing score. After that, running back James Conner rushed for a pair of touchdowns before Boyd ended the half with an acrobatic 34-yard touchdown catch.

-All three of those freshmen - Orndoff, Boyd and Conner - scored their first collegiate touchdowns in Saturday's win. Including freshman kicker Chris Blewitt, freshmen accounted for 37 of Pitt's 49 points in the victory.

- Boyd led all receivers Saturday with six catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. He also ran twice for 39 yards and another score. Through two games, Boyd has gained 346 all-purpose yards.

- With Boyd's 134 receiving yards, he became the first Pitt true freshman to eclipse the century mark in receiving since Oct. 18, 2008 when Jon Baldwin amassed 101 yards against Navy.

- Quarterback Tom Savage finished the day going 13 of 17 for 236 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Savage didn't have a ball hit the ground until late in the third quarter when he threw back-to-back incompletions to Street and Orndoff. Before that, every Savage pass was either caught by a Pitt player or by a New Mexico defender.

- Pitt held a huge advantage in total yards, outgaining New Mexico, 527-270. The biggest discrepancy came in the passing game where the Panthers held a 244-57 advantage.

- The Panthers were dominant in the first quarter. Pitt racked up 206 total yards through the first 15 minutes while New Mexico was held to minus-8 yards of total offense.

- Pitt scored on six of its first nine possessions, all touchdowns. The three possessions that didn't result in scores all ended with Pitt turnovers. All of those six scoring drives except one went for at least 56 yards, and three of them were longer than 70.

- New Mexico senior running back Kasey Carrier entered the game averaging 172.5 rushing yards per game, leading the nation in rushing. On Saturday, the Pitt defense held him to 22 yards on seven carries.

- New Mexico held a significant time of possession advantage, holding the ball for 36:42 to Pitt's 23:18. In the third quarter alone, the Lobos held the ball for 11:19 against the Panthers 3:41.

- The Lobos got some excellent field position during Saturday's game including the ball in Pitt territory on its first two possessions. However, the Panther defense held New Mexico to just three points in those first two drives.

- Senior defensive tackle Aaron Donald tied a career-high with four tackles for loss in Saturday's win as Pitt's defense finished with 13 tackles for loss. He also recorded two sacks, bringing his career total to 21.5. The senior recorded five tackles total and added two quarterback hurries.

- Redshirt junior Todd Thomas returned to the starting lineup at the weak-side linebacker position. Thomas finished with 10 tackles - tied for the team high with Jason Hendricks - including two tackles for loss. One of the tackles for loss came on a fake punt where Thomas dropped New Mexico's Jhurell Pressley for a 7-yard loss.

- Freshman safety Terrish Webb recorded his first career fumble recovery in the third quarter. Webb also added four tackles.

- Isaac Bennett rushed for a career-high 101 yards on 14 carries. He also scored two touchdowns.

- Conner rushed 12 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns. With both Bennett and Conner topping the century mark, Pitt had two 100-yard rushers for first time since Oct. 20, 2007 against Cincinnati (LeSean McCoy - 137; LaRod Stephens-Howling - 100).

- Redshirt freshman quarterback Chad Voytik saw his first collegiate game action in the fourth quarter. He only attempted one pass. It went to Manasseh Garner for an 8-yard gain.

- Freshman offensive lineman Dorian Johnson saw his first action of the season Saturday. He lined up as a tight end in Pitt's wishbone formation for two plays in the first half before playing two series at right tackle with the second-team offensive line in the fourth quarter. Now, 12 of the 27 freshman in the 2013 recruiting class have played this season.

- The second-team offensive line during garbage time for Pitt was Juantez Hollins (LT), Ryan Schlieper (LG), Gabe Roberts (C), Shane Johnson (RG), and Johnson (RT).

- Redshirt junior receiver Kevin Weatherspoon earned his first career start on Saturday, as Pitt opened in a three-receiver set.



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