Big East News Articles
Florida International Golden Panthers
Heinz Field (65,050/Natural Grass)
ESPN3.com — Dave Popkin and Jeremy Bloom
KDKA-FM 93.7 (flagship)
Saturday’s game will be the first meeting between Pittsburgh and Florida International … It will be Pittsburgh’s first game against an opponent from the Sun Belt Conference since 1997, when the Panthers were 45-13 winners against Southwest Louisiana … Florida International coach Mario Cristobal was a freshman on the 1988 Miami (Fla.) team that had Pittsburgh’s Dave Wannstedt as defensive coordinator.
Dave Wannstedt (Pittsburgh ’74)
36-28, sixth season
Pittsburgh is looking to avoid its first 1-3 start since 2006 … The Panthers come in on the heels of a 31-3 loss to Miami (Fla.) … The 28-point margin of defeat was Pittsburgh’s largest in four seasons … The Panthers opened the 2010 season with a 27-24 loss in overtime at Utah and followed with a 38-16 win against New Hampshire … RB Ray Graham ranks third in the BIG EAST in rushing at 107.5 yards per game … RB Dion Lewis — the 2009 BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year — has been limited to just 47.7 yards per game this season … QB Tino Sunseri has completed 48 of 77 passes for 520 yards and three touchdowns against two interceptions … WR Jon Baldwin has 13 receptions for 197 yards and two touchdowns … The Panther defense has been hit hard by injuries with DE Greg Romeus — the 2009 BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year — out indefinitely with a back injury and starting LB Dan Mason out for the year with a leg injury … DE Jabaal Sheard has team highs of three sacks and five tackles for loss … CB Jarred Holley has one interception in each of the first three games and is the BIG EAST leader with three picks.
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (0-3)
Mario Cristobal (Miami (Fla.) ’93)
9-30, fourth season
Florida International is looking for its first win of 2010 after the Golden Panthers dropped a 42-28 decision at Maryland last week … The game against Pittsburgh is the fourth in a stretch of games against opponents from automatic-qualifying BCS conferences and the third of those games to be played on the road … Florida International has already faced Texas A&M, Rutgers and Maryland … The school began playing football in 2002, joined the Bowl Subdivision in 2004 and became a member of the Sun Belt Conference in 2005 … Head coach Mario Cristobal inherited a team that went 0-12 in 2006 and has won nine games in the past three years, including a 5-7 season in 2008 … The Golden Panthers have outscored their opponents by a 17-3 margin in the first quarter and by a 28-7 margin in the third quarter, but have been outscored 41-7 in the fourth quarter … The leading rusher is RB Jeremiah Harden, a transfer from Syracuse who has rushed for 191 yards and a touchdown on 54 carries … QB Wesley Carroll has completed 61 of 113 passes for 638 yards and four touchdowns with five interceptions … WR T.Y. Hilton is an explosive player who is averaging 149.7 all-purpose yards per game … FS Jonathan Cyprien has a tem-high 26 tackles.