The Pittsburgh Panthers rallied in their biggest comeback in the Dave Wannstedt era scoring 18 straight points last week to steal the win from the Connecticut Huskies 24-21. The game was actually sealed as time expired by a Dan Hutchins 18 yard field goal to keep the Panthers program heading in the right direction with a strong 5-1 start.
Online PR News – 16-October-2009 – – The Pittsburgh Panthers rallied in their biggest comeback in the Dave Wannstedt era scoring 18 straight points last week to steal the win from the Connecticut Huskies 24-21. The game was actually sealed as time expired by a Dan Hutchins 18 yard field goal to keep the Panthers program heading in the right direction with a strong 5-1 start. The win perhaps hints that the Panthers may have turned the corner in the Big East as they turn around and travel to take on the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers this Friday night. Rutgers has always played well at home which will truly test just how far the Panthers have progresses when the two teams square off this Friday night.
Rutgers was blown out in their opener from the explosive Cincinnati offense by a score of 47-15, but they to have put on a type of rally winning the last 4 straight outings. The Scarlet Knights have had a pretty easy road since their meeting with Cincinnati to reach the 4-1 mark, but that stretch did include a win over Maryland. Led by a solid defensive unit, Rutgers is allowing just 8.75 points per game since their meeting with Cincinnati. The Scarlet Knights are extremely strong up front with a rush defense that has yielded just 65 yards per game. However, those numbers may indicate a lack of competition as well and it will be interesting to see how they stack up against their first true conference test.
On offense, freshman quarterback Tom Savage has been fair in just his first year. Savage has yet to throw and interception and has 4 touchdowns on the season. The Scarlet Knights are for the most part a rushing team to say the least with little success in the passing game. However, junior tailback Joe Martinek has played well. Actually, the Rutgers rushing game sports a hefty 183 yards per game as a team. Martinek leads the ground attack with 411 yards including 5.5 yards per touch this season. Martinek has 5 scores and fellow junior Jourdan Brooks has scored 4 touchdowns as well. If Rutgers is to win this game it will be by their ability to move the chains on the ground and play sound defense.
The Panthers for the most part were shut down on offense for the majority of the game in last week’s win over Connecticut. QB Bill Stull showed his first signs of struggles throwing 2 picks after throwing just 1 in the first 5 games. However, Stull has still been an effective force for Pittsburgh this season throwing for 1,256 yards and tied for first in the Big East with 13 touchdowns thus far this season. WR Jonathon Baldwin has helped the passing game as the only consistent target. Baldwin has 27 catches on the season to along with 532 yards and 3 scores. Stull will have the opportunity to redeem the sluggish start from last week and help the Panthers from having to play behind.
As much attention as Stull gets for leading the offense, the credit still lies with freshman Dion Lewis at tailback. Lewis leads the Big East and actually ranks 3rd individually in rushing yards in the country just 9 yards out of first place with 736 rushing yards this season. The freshman has made a name for himself and is a big reason the Panthers are having a better than expected season. Lewis has been a work horse carrying the ball 131 times for 5.5 yards per carry. The Rutgers defense is going to put up a strong challenge here as the offenses will struggle early. We expect the game to be rather low scoring meaning Lewis will get plenty of touches yet again.
BangTheBook.com college football pick of the week is to take the under 49 ½.