Tino Sunseri completed 11-of-16 passes for 142 yards and a TD for the Panthers (6-4, 4-1 Big East), who maintained their slim hold of first place in the conference standings and are also now bowl eligible.
USF (6-4, 3-3) saw its three-game win streak come to an end. B.J. Daniels had a tough day under center, completing only 15-of-29 passes for 132 yards and an interception for the Bulls.
Pitt’s Dan Hutchins accounted for the only points of the first quarter with a 36-yard field goal, capping a 10-play drive that covered 5:34.
USF’s Maikon Bonani kicked a 35-yarder to start the second quarter, as the teams would head to the locker room in a 3-3 tie at intermission.
The Panthers finally found the end zone at the 6:22 mark of the third quarter, when Sunseri found Ray Graham for a 12-yard scoring strike.
But the Bulls tied it at 10-10 on the ensuing drive, as Terrence Mitchell broke free for a 45-yard touchdown burst.
Pitt scored the deciding touchdown on the opening play of the fourth quarter, as Lewis scored on a 22-yard run.
Neither team eclipsed 300 total yards for the game. The Panthers can clinch the league crown as well as the Big East’s automatic BCS bowl berth if they win out against West Virginia and Cincinnati.