Notre Dame Stadium (80,975/Natural Grass)
Notre Dame, Ind.
The Pittsburgh-Notre Dame rivalry dates to 1909 and will be played for the 66th time Saturday â€¦ The Fighting Irish hold a 44-20-1 series lead â€¦ With few exceptions, the schools have met regularly since 1930 â€¦ The teams did not play in 2006 or 2007, but resumed pleasantries in 2008, when Pittsburgh won a 36-33 thriller in four overtimes â€” the longest game in each teamâ€™s history â€¦ The Panthers took last yearâ€™s matchup at Heinz Field 27-22 behind five catches for 142 yards by WR Jon Baldwin â€¦ Pitt has won three of the last four against Notre Dame.
Dave Wannstedt (Pittsburgh â€™74)
37-28, sixth season
Pittsburgh emphatically climbed back to the .500 mark last week as the Panthers handled Florida International 44-17 at Heinz Field â€¦ The Panthersâ€™ two losses are to teams ranked in the top 14 of this weekâ€™s national polls (No. 10/10 Utah and No. 13/14 Miami) â€¦ Pittsburgh won against Florida International without the services of the incumbent BIG EAST Offensive and Defensive players of the year (RB Dion Lewis and DE Greg Romeus both sat out due to injuries) â€¦ RB Ray Graham made his first career start and responded with the most productive rushing performance by a Bowl Subdivision player this season â€¦ Graham ran for 277 yards and three touchdowns and finished with 374 all-purpose yards â€¦ Graham is ranked third nationally in rushing at 164.0 yards per game and is averaging 9.5 yards per carry â€¦ QB Tino Sunseri has thrown for 689 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions â€¦ Pittsburgh has allowed its opponents to convert nearly half of their third downs (28 of 58) â€¦ DT Chas Alecxih has a team-high four sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss, while DE Jabaal Sheard and LB Brandon Lindsey have three sacks each â€¦ K/P Dan Hutchins leads the BIG EAST in kicker scoring (8.8 ppg) and punting (46.1 avg.).
NOTRE DAME (2-3)
Brian Kelly (Assumption â€™83)
2-3, first season at Notre Dame
173-60-2, 20th season as collegiate head coach
Notre Dame picked up its second win of the season with a 31-13 decision at Boston College â€¦ The win was Notre Dameâ€™s second in its last nine games, dating to last season â€¦ Like Pittsburgh, all of Notre Dameâ€™s losses are to teams that are ranked in this weekâ€™s national polls (Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford) â€¦ Head coach Brian Kelly â€” the former Cincinnati coach â€” is the only person to be named BIG EAST Coach of the Year in three consecutive seasons (2007-09) â€¦ Kelly led Cincinnati to two BIG EAST titles in his three years in the conference â€¦ Cumulatively, Notre Dame has been outscored by just one point (124-123) â€¦ QB Dayne Crist has thrown for 1,358 yards and 10 touchdowns with four interceptions â€¦ Three players have at least 23 receptions and two touchdowns each with WR Theo Reddick (30 rec., 320 yards, 3 TDs) leading the way â€¦ Notre Dame has lost its last four games against BIG EAST teams, falling to Connecticut, Syracuse and Pittsburgh (twice) since 2008.