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Pitt Notebook: Pitt does more than talk

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South Florida and Pitt talked the talk in the days leading up to the game yesterday at Heinz Field.

Only one team, however, was able to walk the walk, and it wasn't the Bulls, who had given the Panthers plenty of bulletin-board material.

"Their receivers came out this week and, really, their whole team tried to clown us in the newspapers this week, but the game is won on the field," Pitt linebacker H.B. Blades said. "We showed that today. All that talk means nothing when the game starts."

Pitt defensive back Josh Lay, who earlier in the week said he wasn't concerned about the Bulls' receivers because they aren't very physical, said he made sure to back up his talk with his performance. Lay intercepted a pass, was excellent in pass defense and had two tackles for losses.

"Coach told me he didn't have a problem with what I said, I just needed to go out and back it up," Lay said.

"I knew we'd play well against [south Florida's receivers], so I wasn't too concerned when I put myself out there like that because I knew we'd be OK."

Lee considering his future

Wide receiver Greg Lee is in the midst of another fine season, but it may be his last in a Panthers uniform. A junior, Lee could leave the Panthers a year early, and it is a move he has been contemplating. Lee didn't deny the fact that he already has considered the option, but he said he will wait to see how he finishes the season before he pursues the matter more earnestly.

"I'm just focused on the season, but, if at the end of the year, things look good [for me to get drafted], I'm not sure what I will do," said Lee, who had his 10th career 100-yard receiving game. "Right now, I'm focused on getting through our four more games and finish the season. [Leaving school early] is always an option.

"I don't think any player comes to college not intending to play at the next level. I'm like anyone else, I want to play at the next level."

Injury update

The Panthers survived the game in relatively good health.

Only one player -- defensive end Charles Sallet (leg) -- was lost due to injury. Sallet went down in the first half and missed the rest of the game. He returned to the sideline for the second half on crutches.

Also, as expected, LaRod Stephens-Howling returned from an ankle injury.

Quick outs

Lee had a 69-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. Although it was his longest touchdown this season, it was his second-longest reception of the season. He had a 73-yard play at Nebraska. ... Quarterback Tyler Palko completed 15 of 21 passes for 203 yards and three touchdowns. He has 4,649 career passing yards, good enough for fifth place on the Panthers' all-time passing list. He moved ahead of David Priestley yesterday. ... Tight end Darrell Strong had one catch yesterday, but he made sure it counted. Strong caught an 8-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter -- the first of his career. ... Freshman LaRod Stephens-Howling rushed for 91 yards on 14 carries (6.5 yards per carry), including a career-long 41. That means Stephens-Howling has played significantly in two games this season and has rushed for more than 90 yards both times. ... Pitt forced three turnovers, a season-high. Included was an interception by cornerback Josh Lay, his first this season. ... Defensive end Chris McKillop recorded a sack to give him a team-high 2.5. ... Freshman Gus Mustakas had a sack for the second consecutive game. ... South Florida has played six games. All have held in Florida or Pennsylvania (the Bulls opened the season at Penn State). ... The Panthers scored 21 second-quarter points, the most scored against the Bulls in any quarter this season.


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