- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 20, 2009

PITTSBURGH | Bill Stull found Henry Hynoski on a 13-yard completion on his first pass attempt against Navy and - surprise - heard loud cheers.

Right then, his Pittsburgh teammates knew it would be a much different game for a quarterback who wins games but has trouble winning over his fans.

Dion Lewis and Ray Graham each scored a touchdown, Stull effectively ran the Panthers’ offense and Pittsburgh turned a bizarre failed punt by Navy into a pivotal touchdown during a 27-14 victory against the Midshipmen on Saturday night.

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The Panthers (3-0) held Navy’s trademark running game to 129 yards while improving to 3-0 for the first time since 2000 and only the fourth time since Dan Marino’s senior season in 1982. The Panthers, two spots out of the Top 25 last week, might be ready to return to the national rankings.

Stull, booed loudly during a 38-3 victory against Youngstown State two weeks before, went 17-for-24 for 245 yards as Pittsburgh outgained the Midshipmen 369-218. The Panthers were coming off a 54-27 decision against Buffalo in which they allowed 500 yards yet still won by 27.

Pittsburgh didn’t need long to build off its highest-scoring game in 10 years, using up nearly seven minutes at the start of the game on an 89-yard drive that ended with Stull’s 6-yard scoring pass to Oderick Turner, one play after Stull’s 22-yard completion to Jonathan Baldwin. Baldwin made six catches for 111 yards.

Baldwin’s 18-yard reception and tight end Nate Byham’s 24-yard catch highlighted a 59-yard drive that ended with Graham’s 15-yard run and put Pittsburgh up 14-7 early in the second quarter. Graham, who was playing high school football last season, took over on the drive from Lewis, another freshman who came into the game as the nation’s No. 3 rusher.

Lewis ran for 79 yards on 23 carries and scored on a 6-yard run only three plays after Navy not only couldn’t get off a punt but lost 23 yards without the kick being blocked.

“Pitt threw the ball really well, and they hurt us on third downs and picked us apart,” linebacker Ross Pospisil said.

Navy’s Ricky Dobbs was 6-for-21 for 89 yards and was held to 21 yards rushing.

“That was probably one of the worst performances as a team we’ve had in a long while,” coach Ken Niumatalolo said.

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