PITTSBURGH PANTHERS at CONNECTICUT HUSKIES
Rentschler Field (40,000/Natural Grass)
East Hartford, Conn
ESPN - Rece Davis, Craig James, Jesse Palmer and Jenn Brown
KDKA-FM 93.7 (flagship)
Sirius 122; XM 143
WTIC-AM 1050 (flagship)
Thursday’s game will be the seventh meeting between Pittsburgh and Connectcut in a series that began in 2004 … The series is tied 3-3, with Pittsburgh winning the last two matchups … Connecticut won three of the first four in the series … Connecticut is 2-1 at Rentschler Field against the Panthers … Last year’s meeting at Heinz Field saw Pitt QB Bill Stull throw for 268 yards and two touchdowns as the Panthers won 24-21 … The Panthers overcame a 21-6 third-quarter deficit by scoring the last 18 points, including an 18-yard field goal at the gun by K Dan Hutchins.
PITTSBURGH (5-3, 3-0 BIG EAST)
Dave Wannstedt (Pittsburgh ’74)
40-29, sixth season
Pittsburgh, which was idle last week, has a two-game cushion in the BIG EAST loss column with four games remaining … A finish of 2-2 or better in the final four games would give the Panthers at least a share of the BIG EAST title … If Pittsburgh wins at least three of its last four games, it would win the conference title outright for the first time … The Panthers are 1-2 in road games this season … Head coach Dave Wannstedt said Monday that DE Greg Romeus - the 2009 BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year - would be listed as questionable with a back injury that has kept him out of the last seven games … QB Tino Sunseri has completed 65.9 percent of his passes (141 of 214) and has thrown for 1,672 yards and 12 touchdowns with just four interceptions … RB Ray Graham (97.9 yards per game, seven touchdowns) and RB Dion Lewis (68.4 ypg, five touchdowns) make for one of the top backfield tandems in the nation … WR Jon Baldwin has 33 receptions for 546 yards and four touchdowns … DE Jabaal Sheard leads the BIG EAST with nine sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss … K/P Dan Hutchins is the conference’s top-scoring kicker (8.5 ppg) and the leading punter (47.0 avg.).
CONNECTICUT (4-4, 1-2 BIG EAST)
Randy Edsall (Syracuse ’80)
70-69, 12th season
Connecticut returns from a bye week that followed the Huskies’ best win of the season - a 16-13 overtime decision against West Virginia … The win lifted Connecticut to 4-0 at home, while the Huskies are 0-4 on the road in 2010 … Connecticut ranks eighth in the BIG EAST in total defense (364.2 yards per game) … The Huskies lead the BIG EAST in defensive interceptions (nine) and have allowed the fewest sacks of any league member (nine) … RB Jordan Todman enters the game ranked fourth nationally in rushing (136.3 yards per game) … Todman has rushed for 954 yards and nine touchdowns on 174 carries … QB Zach Frazer has thrown for 771 yards and two touchdowns with just one interception in six games … WR Michael Smith has 30 receptions for 470 yards and two touchdowns, while WR Kashif Moore has 26 catches for 315 yards and three TDs … LB Lawrence Wilson leads the BIG EAST in tackles (84 total, 10.5 per game) … DE Jesse Joseph has 5.5 sacks, good for fifth in the BIG EAST, while LB Sio Moore is fourth in the conference with 10 tackles for loss.