Youngstown State Penguins
Saturday, September 1 • 6 p.m. • ESPN3
Heinz Field (65,050/Natural Grass)
ESPN3 — Bob Picozzi, Ralph Friedgen and Rontina McCann
KDKA-FM 93.7 (flagship)
Saturday’s game will be the third meeting between Pittsburgh and Youngstown State … The schools first met in 2005, when the Panthers were 41-0 winners, and played most recently in 2009, when Pitt took a 38-3 win … Pittsburgh RB Dion Lewis rushed for two touchdowns and had a TD reception in the 2009 win, which also marked the debuts of current QB Tino Sunseri and RB Ray Graham.
Paul Chryst (Wisconsin ’88) - LISTEN TO TELECONFERENCE
0-0, first season
Saturday’s game will mark the debut of coach Paul Chryst on the Pittsburgh sideline … Chryst most recently had been offensive coordinator at Wisconsin … The Panthers went 6-7 overall and 4-3 in BIG EAST play last season, reaching the BBVA Compass Bowl for the second straight year … Pittsburgh has made four straight postseason appearances … Pitt was 5-0 last year when it scored at least 33 points and 1-7 when it was held below 33 points … The Panthers have had a winning record in BIG EAST play in each of the past four seasons … Much of the Panthers’ success in 2012 could hinge on the ability of RB Ray Graham to return to his 2011 form, before he suffered a season-ending knee injury … Graham, who has been limited in preseason action, was ranked second nationally in rushing (134.1 ypg) before suffering the injury in Pitt’s eighth game of the season … QB Tino Sunseri has started Pittsburgh’s last 26 games and enters his third year as the Panthers’ starter … WR Devin Street (53 catches, 754 yards) and WR Mike Shanahan (39 catches, 493 yards) were Pittsburgh’s top two receives last year … The defense is led by S Jarred Holley, a two-time All-BIG EAST selection, and DE Aaron Donald, who earned All-BIG EAST Second Team honors last year after he registered 11 sacks … Pitt has had four players named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year in the past five seasons.
YOUNGSTOWN STATE (0-0)
9-13, third season
Youngstown State went 6-5 overall and was 4-4 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference last season … The Penguins enter the 2012 season ranked No. 13 in The Sports Network Football Championship Subdivision preseason poll and were picked third in the MVFC preseason poll, behind North Dakota State and Northern Iowa … Youngstown State’s four losses to Football Championship Subdivision opponents last season were by a combined 17 points … The six wins included a victory against North Dakota State, which went on to win the NCAA FCS title … The Penguins have four preseason All-MVFC selections on offense — RB Jamaine Cook, QB Kurt Hess C Mark Pratt and OG Chris Elkins … Cook rushed for 1,386 yards and 13 touchdowns last year, while Hess threw for 2,460 yards and a school-record 26 touchdowns … Cook and Hess were both named to the preseason watch list for the Walter Payton Award, which goes to the top player in FCS.