PITTSBURGH -- A videotaped message from ACC commissioner John Swofford offered Pitt a warm welcome to the ACC in 2013 moments before the Panthers hosted conference power Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Somehow – after two baffling, listless losses to open the Paul Chryst era – Pitt looks ready to make the move.

Ray Graham rushed for 94 yards and two scores and added an 18-yard touchdown reception as the Panthers upset the 13th-ranked Hokies in a 35-17 romp.

"We definitely went out there and made noise today," Graham said. "I think playing an ACC team just gives us a feeling for what we can do when it's time to go in the ACC. This is a good ACC team. It can only get better from here."

It couldn't have gotten much worse for the Panthers (1-2), who began the season getting upset at home by Youngstown State then blown out on the road at Cincinnati.

Yet Chryst, the program's third coach in as many seasons, doesn't really do panic. Even with the seemingly surging Hokies (2-1) looming, he told his players things would be fine so long as they stuck to the plan.

"It's not like the movies, `Any Given Sunday,' it's not just a pregame speech," Chryst said. "It's the process and that's what you appreciate going through. This is the culmination of the work week."

One the Panthers hope provides a welcome breakthrough.

Tino Sunseri passed for 283 yards and three touchdowns and freshman running back Rushel Shell added 157 yards as Pitt ended the nation's longest road winning streak. The Panthers raced to a quick 21-0 lead, forced four turnovers and took advantage of uncharacteristically sloppy play by Virginia Tech.

"I thought (Pitt was) hitting on all cylinders, and I thought it was their day," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "We've got to play a lot better. (But) Pitt deserves a lot of credit. They played hard, and they played well. And they got the win today."

The Hokies had won 13 straight true road games but were stunned by the Panthers in the game's first 20 minutes and never really threatened. Logan Thomas completed just 14 of 31 passes for 265 yards and one touchdown against three interceptions against a defense that managed just one sack and no turnovers through the season's first two weeks.

All that changed on a day Pitt held the Hokies to just 59 yards rushing and stopped a pair of fourth-down attempts in the second half to snuff out any hope Virginia Tech had of rallying.

"Their first two games, they just didn't play as hard as they did today," Thomas said. "They're a good defense. They're strong, and they're physical. They're fast, and they make you make mistakes. They did that today, and that's what won them the game. They played real hard."

Pitt is jumping to the ACC next year along with Syracuse and will face Hokies on a yearly basis as part of the league's Coastal Division, reigniting a spirited rivalry that ended in 2004 when Virginia Tech and Miami abruptly left the Big East with Boston College officially joining them a year later.

The Panthers sent off an emphatic opening salvo.

Using Graham and Shell to chew up yardage and time, the Panthers controlled the ball for over 38 minutes and rolled up 537 yards against one of the better defenses in the country. Not bad for a team that looked lost at times against lesser foes.

"Those two losses were big for us," wide receiver Devin Street said. "I think it was an eye-opener for us."

Just like this one will be for the Hokies, though Beamer downplayed Pitt's early season struggles, calling it the byproduct of having three different coaches in as many seasons.

The Panthers think they've finally found a keeper in Chryst, who has given the program a sense of calm. He insisted there was no panic in his team after such a horrific start.

He was right.

Instead, it was the Hokies who looked jittery during a nightmarish first half in which the Panthers built a 21-3 advantage behind tenacious running from Graham, a pair of interceptions by safety Jason Hendricks and a fumble by Virginia Tech running back deep in Hokie territory that set up an easy Pitt score.

Virginia Tech has won 211 games since Beamer took over in 1987, but none after trailing by three touchdowns.

The Hokies got within 21-10 in the third quarter following Kyshoen Jarrett's 94-yard punt return for a score, but the Panthers responded with an expert toss from Sunseri to Graham, whose surgically repaired right knee appears just fine.

Again Virginia Tech responded with a big play, as Thomas hit Marcus Davis for an 85-yard catch-and-run to make it 28-17. And when the Hokies got the ball back at the Pitt 36 following a Sunseri interception early in the fourth quarter, it looked as if the Panthers were wobbling.

They weren't.

Thomas was sacked on first down and followed it up with two straight incompletions. The Hokies punted and Pitt drove 88 yards in a crunching 15-play drive to put Virginia Tech away. At one point the Hokies had appeared to hold Pitt to a field goal, but an offside penalty on the kick gave Pitt a first down at the Virginia Tech 4 and Sunseri followed with a 4-yard toss to Mike Shanahan to put the Hokies away.

"I knew a lot of people had us counted out already," Pitt linebacker Shane Gordon said. "But in our locker room we know we can do and we showed that."

___

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • College Football Week 3

    Stanford cornerback Terrence Brown, right, intercepts a pass intended for Southern California wide receiver Nelson Agholor (15) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • College Football Week 3

    Michigan State quarterback Andrew Maxwell (10) is hit by Notre Dame's T.J. Jones during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in East Lansing, Mich. Notre Dame won 20-3. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

  • College Football Week 3

    Stanford running back running back Stepfan Taylor celebrates as he scores past Southern California cornerback Nickell Robey (21) on a 23-yard reception during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. Stanford won 21-14. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • College Football Week 3

    Oregon running back DeAnthony Thomas breaks into the open for a long gain during the first half of their NCAA college football game against Tennessee Tech in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

  • College Football Week 3

    Louisiana-Monroe wide receiver Colby Harper (13) catches a pass for a touchdown against Auburn during the second half of their NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

  • College Football Week 3

    The Pittsburgh Panther mascot cheers with the student section at the beginning of the fourth quarter of their NCAA college football game against Virginia Tech, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh won 35-17. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

  • College Football Week 3

    Miami's Duke Johnson scores a touchdown as Bethune-Cookman 's Dion Hanks trails during an NCAA college football game in Miami on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/The Miami Herald, Al Diaz)

  • College Football Week 3

    Bethune-Cookman's Rodney Scott is tackled by Miami during an NCAA college football game in Miami on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/The Miami Herald, Al Diaz)

  • College Football Week 3

    Pittsburgh defensive back Jason Hendricks (25) runs away from Virginia Tech wide receiver Demitri Knowles (80) after making an interception in the first quarter of the NCAA football game, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012 in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh upset No. 13 Virginia Tech 35-17. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

  • College Football Week 3

    Florida State's head coach jimbo Fisher, third from left, watches his running back James Wilder Jr. pickup a first down against Wake Forest in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Tallahassee, Fla.(AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

  • College Football Week 3

    Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, center, rallies his team before the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Massachusetts at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • College Football Week 3

    Massachusetts defensive back Darren Thellen (27) breaks up a pass in the end zone intended for Michigan wide receiver Jerald Robinson (83) during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • College Football Week 3

    Northern Illinois's Martel Moore catches a pass over Army's Tyler Dickson on a drive that lead to the game-winning touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game in West Point, N.Y., on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

  • College Football Week 3

    Northern Illinois's Martel Moore catches a pass over Army's Tyler Dickson on a drive that lead to the game-winning touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game in West Point, N.Y., on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

  • College Football Week 3

    Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson (16) is stopped by Massachusetts defensive back Darren Thellen (27) during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • Manny Williams, Jason Hendricks

    Pittsburgh linebacker Manny Williams (36) and defensive back Jason Hendricks (25) celebrate with the defense after stopping Virginia Tech on a fourth-down attempt in the third quarter of their NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh won 35-17. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

  • College Football Week 3

    Central Florida wide receiver J.J. Worton (9) catches a pass in front of Florida International cornerback Richard Leonard (3) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Orlando, Fla. Central Florida won 33-20. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

  • College Football Week 3

    Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington dives for a touchdown past Virginia safety Rijo Walker (27) during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • College Football Week 3

    Michigan running back Vincent Smith (2) scores a touchdown past Massachusetts linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox (50) in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Ann Arbor, Mich. Michigan won 63-13. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

  • College Football Week 3

    Boise State's Joe Southwick (16) runs past the defense of Miami (Ohio)'s Trey Payne (23) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won 39-12. (AP Photo/Matt Cilley)

  • College Football Week 3

    Florida tight end Jordan Reed (11) is tackled by Tennessee defensive back Byron Moore (3) in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

  • College Football Week 3

    Michigan tight end Devin Funchess (19) celebrates his touchdown in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Massachusetts, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

  • College Football Week 3

    Portland State's Michael Williams (25) gives chase as Washington's Jaydon Mickens runs after a pass reception in the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

  • College Football Week 3

    Boise State's J. Harper (7) makes a touchdown reception against Miami (Ohio) during an NCAA college football game in Boise, Idaho, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/The Idaho Statesman, Joe Jaszewski)

  • College Football Week 3

    PALO ALTO, CA - SEPTEMBER 15: Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans throws the ball during their game against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Palo Alto, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • College Football Week 3

    Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien, right, celebrates with quarterback Matt McGloin (11) after a second-quarter touchdown during an NCAA college football game against Navy in State College, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • College Football Week 3

    Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (10) looks for a receiver as he is pressured by Arkansas defensive end Trey Flowers (86) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/April L. Brown)

  • College Football Week 3

    West Virginia running back Shawne Alston pushes away James Madison cornerback Leavander Jones during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • College Football Week 3

    West Virginia defensive lineman Shaq Rowell (90) reacts after tackling James Madison quarterback Justin Thorpe (7) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • College Football Week 3

    An Oregon fan cheers during the second half of their NCAA college football game against Tennessee Tech in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. Oregon won 63-14. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

  • College Football Week 3

    Stanford cornerback Wayne Lyons (2) celebrates after Stanford defeated Southern California 21-14 during an NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • College Football Week 3

    Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson, center, looks to pass between Michigan State's Marcus Rush (44) and Anthony Rashad White (98) during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

  • College Football Week 3

    Notre Dame's John Goodman, center, Everett Golson (5) and Troy Niklas, right, celebrate Goodman's touchdown reception during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Michigan State, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

  • College Football Week 3

    Notre Dame players, including Kendall Moore, left, Cierre Wood (20), Davonte' Neal (19), Theo Riddick and Chris Salvi (24) celebrate following a 20-3 win over Michigan State in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

  • College Football Week 3

    New Mexico State's Germi Morrison looks for yardage against the UTEP defense, including Greg Watkins, right front, during an NCAA college football game in El Paso, Texas, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Las Cruces Sun-News, Robin Zielinski)

  • College Football Week 3

    A Utah fan holds a sign during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game between Utah and BYU on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

  • College Football Week 3

    LSU safety Ronald Martin (26) celebrates his interception with cornerback Tharold Simon (24) in the first half of their NCAA college football game against Idaho in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. LSU won 63-14. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

  • College Football Week 3

    Houston quarterback David Piland signals toward wide receiver Ronnie Williams during the first half of an NCAA college football game against UCLA, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • College Football Week 3

    South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier waves to fans as he walks off of the filed following a 49-6 win over UAB in an NCAA college football game at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Brett Flashnick)

  • College Football Week 3

    Wisconsin's Kenzel Doe reacts after scoring a touchdown on an 82-yard punt return during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Utah State on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin won 16-14. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • College Football Week 3

    Mississippi tailback Randall Mackey (1) scores between teammates Donte Moncrief (12) and Jeff Scott (3) on a 3-yard touchdown against Texas in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • College Football Week 3

    Baylor safety K.J. Morton (8) returns an interception for a touchdown as Sam Houston State quarterback Brian Bell (11) pursues in the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/The Waco Tribune-Herald, Jose Yau)

  • College Football Week 3

    Georgia's Christian Robinson (45), Aaron Murray (11) and Branden Smith (1) prepare to take the field with their teammates for an NCAA college football game against the Florida Atlantic Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

  • College Football Week 3

    Cal Poly receiver Kristaan Ivory goes airborne after being hit by Wyoming's Ghaali Muhammad during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Laramie, Wyo. Cal Poly won 24-22. (AP Photo/The Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Michael Smith)

  • College Football Week 3

    Florida running back Mike Gillislee (23) runs for yardage as he's defended by Tennessee defensive back Prentiss Waggner (23) in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Knoxville, Tenn. Florida won 37-20. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

  • College Football Week 3

    Iowa State running back James White (8) runs from Western Illinois defensive back Kieron James, left, and defensive back David McDaniel, right, during a touchdown run in the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • College Football Week 3

    Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton (16) throws past Wisconsin's David Gilbert (11) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • College Football Week 3

    Georgia running back Keith Marshall (4) is stopped short of the goal line by Florida Atlantic linebacker Cory Henry (31) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)