PITTSBURGH PANTHERS vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
9/24/11 - Noon Kickoff
Heinz Field (65,050/Natural Grass)
ABC — Dave Pasch, Chris Spielman, Urban Meyer and Quint Kessenich
KDKA-FM 93.7 (flagship)
Sirius 91; XM 91
Pittsburgh and Notre Dame have a long history on the gridiron as Saturday’s game will be the teams’ 67th meeting since 1909 … The Irish hold a 45-20-1 series lead after taking a 23-17 decision in South Bend last season … Pittsburgh was a 27-22 winner in 2009 in the last matchup at Heinz Field … The 2008 game in South Bend stands as the longest game in either school’s history as Pitt was a 36-33 winner in four overtimes.
Todd Graham (East Central ’87)
2-1, first season at Pittsburgh
45-24, fifth season as collegiate head coach
Pittsburgh was in excellent shape in its bid for a 3-0 start to the season, but the Panthers saw Iowa rally for a 31-27 win last week … The Panthers began the season with wins against Buffalo (35-16) and Maine (35-29) … Pittsburgh has not allowed a point in the first quarter this season … Pitt has averaged 404.3 yards of offense per game (fourth in the BIG EAST) and allowed an average of 416.3 yards (eighth) …The Panthers rank eighth in the BIG EAST in turnover margin, (-1.33 per game) and have allowed a league-high 12 sacks … RB Ray Graham enters Saturday’s game ranked fifth nationally in rushing at 139.7 yards per game … Graham has rushed for 419 yards and six touchdowns on 79 carries … QB Tino Sunseri is fourth in the BIG EAST in passing (219.3 ypg) and sixth in pass efficiency rating (122.1) … Sunseri has completed 60 of 96 passes for 658 yards and three touchdowns with four interceptions … WR Devin Street is tied for third in the BIG EAST in receiving yards (78.7) … LB Max Gruder has a team-high 27 tackles … DT Chas Alecxih leads the team with 3.5 tackles for loss.
NOTRE DAME (1-2)
Brian Kelly (Assumption ’83)
9-7, second season at Notre Dame
180-64-2, 21st season as collegiate head coach
Notre Dame picked up its first win of the season by scoring a 31-13 decision against Michigan State last week … The Irish had a pair of heartbreaking losses to open the season, falling 23-20 to USF and 35-31 at Michigan … Notre Dame ranks last nationally in turnover margin, losing an average of 2.67 turnovers per game … The player to watch on offense is WR Michael Floyd, who ranks fourth nationally in receiving yards at 132.3 yards per game … Floyd has 31 receptions for 397 yards and two touchdowns … QB Tommy Rees has started the last two games and has completed 69.7 percent of his passes (69 of 99) for 772 yards and six touchdowns with five interceptions … RB Cierre Wood has all four of Notre Dame’s rushing touchdowns and is averaging 99.7 yards per game … LB Manti Te’o leads the team with 31 tackles, while CB Robert Blanton has an unusual combination of team highs with four tackles for loss and two interceptions … The Irish have registered five sacks through three games and have allowed just three.