Primetime College Football: Panthers vs Huskies
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features University of Pittsburgh Panthers taking on the University of Connecticut Huskies at Rentschler Field.
Pittsburgh is looking to go 4-0 in league play for the second straight season, and is riding on a three-game winning streak in which they outscored the opposition 106-38. This past weekend the Panthers had no trouble against Louisville, as coach Dave Wannstedt’s squad grabbed a 20-3 victory over the Cardinals.
The Panthers are not explosive offensively, but the team possesses a very balanced attack that is averaging a healthy 29 ppg. Coach Wannstedt has two solid options out of the backfield in Ray Graham and Dion Lewis, and both players have paced Pitt’s ground game, which is churning out a respectable 156.2 ypg.
The rushing attack has been successful because Tino Sunseri has done a terrific job passing the ball. Through eight games, Pitt’s quarterback has completed 65.9 percent of his throws, and although he has just 1,672 yards, he comes into this contest with 12 touchdowns against 4 interceptions.
While the offense has done a commendable job, it has been the play of the defense for Pittsburgh, that has the Panthers leading the Big East. Coach Wannstedt’s unit is one of the best in the nation, and is currently holding opponents to just 19 ppg. Pitt came into the season with a commitment to stop the run, and so far the Panthers have been outstanding in that area, limiting teams to a mere 93.8 ypg on just 3.0 yards per carry.
This unit has been slightly suspect against the pass however, as opponents are averaging 205.2 ypg through the air.
The Huskies snapped a two-game slide the last time they were in action, defeating West Virginia by a 16-13 margin in overtime. It was the first league win on the year for UConn, which is currently a perfect 4-0 at home this season.
Randy Edsall doesn’t have an evenly keeled offensive as Pitt, but they do possess a dangerous ground attack (174.8 ypg), that is led by one of the top running backs in the nation. Jordan Todman has suffered through some minor injuries this season, but that has not stopped the back from churning out 954 yards and nine scores in seven games.
However, Todman and the rushing attack has the pressure of carrying this offense, because so far Zach Frazer has been unable to produce under center. The quarterback has completed just 55.5 percent of his throws on the year and comes into this contest with only two touchdowns and 771 yards.
Inconsistent play has riddled this defensive unit, and Connecticut’s lackluster effort at times is a big reason for the team’s mediocre 4-4 mark. The Huskies have allowed 10 touchdowns through the air, and teams are enjoying 200.4 ypg against UConn in that area, but the real problem for this unit has come against the run, as teams are gashing UConn for 163.9 ypg.
The Panthers have won the last two meetings against Connecticut to even the series at three games apiece. However, at Rentschler Field, the Huskies own a slim 2-1 edge over Pitt.
PICK: University of Pittsburgh Panthers