'Best' and 'Worst' awards Temple vs. Pitt

Temple Pittsburgh Football
Pittsburgh quarterback Tino Sunseri (12) and tight end J.P. Holtz celebrate after connecting for a touchdown. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

PITTSBURGH – My look at some of the best and worst performances from Pittsburgh 47-17 Big East victory over Temple on Saturday at Heinz Field:

Player of the game:  This was a tough one, because Pittsburgh quarterback Tino Sunseri and tailback Ray Graham both toyed with Temple.  But it’s hard to overlook someone who throws for more than 300 yards. So I had to give it to Sunseri. The fifth-year senior completed 20 of 28 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns. Two of his TD strikes came in the decisive first half.

Worst performance: This goes to the Owls’ defense as a whole. Yeah, it played that bad. As a result, it wouldn’t be fair to single any one particular player. The Panthers basically did whatever they wanted and whenever they wanted to do it. As a result, the Owls yielded a season-worst 528 yards of total offense.  Temple was just simply manhandled.

Best defensive performance: This award goes to Pitt middle linebacker Dan Mason. The Pittsburgh native finished with a game-high 10 tackles, a ½ sack and 1 ½ tackles for a loss. His highlight came when he wrapped up Temple quarterback Juice Granger for no gain on a fourth-and-goal situation from the 2-yard line.

Worst statistic: The Owls has a lot of pride in their running game. But nothing to be prideful about Temple’s first-half rushing yardage. The Owls carried the ball 16 times for 31 yards in the first half. That averaged out to 1.9 yards per carry. Ouch!

Worst of the worst: This award goes to Anthony Robey’s miscue as a punt return gunner. Despite the advice of Temple punt returner Matt Brown, Royer didn’t get out of the path of an incoming punt. The ball bounced off his leg. The Panthers recovered the ball at the Temple 39-yard line. Seven plays later, Rushel Shell’s 1-yard score made it a 7-0 contest. That miscue set the tone for what was a rough afternoon.