The Panthers did, and then some, as they rolled up 499 yards total offense in a 42-21 rout of Navy before a record Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium crowd of 37,790.
It was the fifth win in a row for the Panthers, who have started 5-1 for the fourth time since 2000. Pitt beat then-No. 10 South Florida on Oct. 2 before having a bye.
Navy (4-3) had come into the matchup with a three-game winning streak but rushed for a season-low 194 yards.
LeSean McCoy dipped, dodged and darted his way to three touchdowns and 156 yards. The sophomore scored on runs of 2, 11 and 58 yards as the Panthers built a 35-14 halftime lead. McCoy, who had 128 yards at the half, carried the ball only four times in the second half.
"We stressed all week that we wanted to run the ball and work off that," said McCoy, who sat out most of the second half while nursing the effects of a chest cold. "We just wanted to come out and just pound the ball, inside, outside."
McCoy now has 10 100-yard games in his short career and four three-touchdown games. In his last three games, he has rushed for 447 yards and five touchdowns.
"That guy is good. He is going to be playing on Sundays. Don't be surprised to see him in Honolulu (in the NFL Pro Bowl) in a few years. He is as good a back as we have seen all year," said Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo.
The Panthers also held the Mids to a season-low 194 yards rushing and just 251 yards total offense.
"It was the first game of the year that I thought were really hitting on all cylinders from the standpoint of offense, defense and special teams. All three phases contributed," said Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt. "Offensively when you hold the ball for 20 minutes and they only have it for 10 at halftime, you're doing some good things."
At the half, Pittsburgh had 354 yards total offense on 42 plays to Navy's 116 yards on 21 plays.
"Defensively, we gave up one big play," Wannstedt said. "Coming off a bye week and playing against this team here, I thought our guys, from the opening gun until the end, played with a lot of energy."
Pitt linebacker Scott McKillop said the memory of last year's 48-45 double-overtime loss to Navy also motivated the team.
"We came here focused on not letting that happen again," McKillop said, adding that the biggest difference on defense from last year was how they played the triple-option.
"Last year they hurt us with the dive. We knew we has to shut the dive down," McKillop said.
Pitt quarterback Bill Stull completed 15 of 23 passes for 255 yards and had a long TD pass, but was intercepted twice. Navy's Rashawn King returned one of those pickoffs 91 yards to set up a second quarter touchdown run by Jarod Bryant.
LaRod Stevens-Howling had touchdown runs of 6 and 9 yards.
Bryant led Navy with 81 yards and Shun White added 70, including a 40-yard TD run.
Stephens-Howling gave Pitt a 7-0 lead before White's run tied it.
Pitt took command scoring twice in 88 seconds. McCoy had a two-yard run and then on the next series, Bryant was sacked and fumbled the ball at his own 17. Stephens-Howling scored from the 9 to put the Panthers up 21-7 with 2:58 left in the quarter.
Pitt seemed headed for another score to open the second quarter before King stepped in front of Stull's pass and returned it 91 yards to the Pitt 8, setting up Bryant's score.
McCoy touchdown runs of 11 and 58 yards extended Pitt's lead to 35-14 at the half.
A 60-yard pass from Stull to Jonathan Baldwin extended the lead to 42-14 just 59 seconds into the final period and a 4-yard run by Navy third-string quarterback Ricky Dobbs capped the day's scoring with 20 seconds to play.