Heinz Field (65,050/Natural Grass)
Saturday, September 3 • 6 p.m. • ESPN3.com
ESPN3.com — John Sanders and John Bunting
KDKA-FM 93.7 (flagship)
Saturday’s game will be the third meeting between Pittsburgh and Buffalo … The Panthers hold a 2-0 series lead after a 54-27 win in Buffalo Sept. 12, 2009 … Pittsburgh RB Dion Lewis ran for 190 yards and two touchdowns and TE Dorin Dickerson had three touchdown receptions in the win … Pittsburgh was a 27-16 winner the previous year at Heinz Field against a Buffalo team that went on to win the Mid-American Conference title.
Todd Graham (East Central ’87)
0-0, first season at Pittsburgh
43-23, fifth season as collegiate head coach
Saturday’s game will mark the debut of coach Todd Graham on the Pittsburgh sideline … Graham inherits a Panther squad that returns 14 starters from last year’s team, which earned a share of the BIG EAST title … Graham spent two years in the BIG EAST as an assistant, serving at West Virginia in 2001 and 2002 … Pittsburgh has played in a bowl game in each of the past three seasons and has ended the last two seasons with bowl wins … QB Tino Sunseri returns for his second year as the Panthers’ starter … Sunseri threw for 2,572 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2010 and could thrive in Graham’s fast-paced offense … RB Ray Graham rushed for 922 yards and eight touchdowns last year and is expected to shoulder more of the load following the departure of Dion Lewis to the NFL … Pittsburgh is moving to a 3-4 base defense this season … The Panthers return three defensive line starters from last year, including DE Brandon Lindsey, who had 10 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss in 2010 … LB Max Gruder had 84 tackles last year, good for second on the team and the most among returning players … FS Jared Holley had five interceptions last year, ranking second in the BIG EAST.
Jeff Quinn (Elmhurst ’84)
2-10, second season at Buffalo
3-11, second full season as collegiate head coach
Buffalo went 2-10 last year under first-year head coach Jeff Quinn, the former offensive coordinator at Cincinnati … The Bulls were 1-7 in the Mid-American Conference last year … In addition to Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh, Buffalo has another date against a BIG EAST opponent in 2011 when the Bulls host Connecticut Sept. 24 … Quinn will go with QB Chazz Anderson as the starter against Pitt … Anderson is a transfer from Cincinnati who is eligible this season under NCAA postgraduate transfer rules … Anderson started two games for Cincinnati’s 2008 BIG EAST championship squad and made one start last year … WR Marcus Rivers had 50 receptions for 690 yards and five touchdowns last year … The Bulls managed just three rushing touchdowns last season … Buffalo’s defense lost eight starters from last year … LB Khalil Mack is the top returner after he had 68 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 14.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles in 2010.