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Pitt/Rutgers Preview

   by ASA - 10/14/2009

Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Friday, October 16 – 7:00 PM CST



Revenge



Pittsburgh is 5-1 and if not for a 4th quarter let down against NC State, they’d be 6-0. They are undefeated in conference play and they are still in very good position to win the Big East.



This is a huge game for Pitt. None of the current Pitt players have ever experienced a win vs. the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers has defeated the Panthers four years in a row by an average of 11 points per contest. Senior QB Bill Stull was knocked out of last years game and he had three words for their game against Rutgers on Friday:



“This is personal.”



Looking for a signature victory



Despite the 4-1 start, Rutgers has yet to record an impressive win. They got torched at home by Cincinnati to begin the season and have since defeated Howard, Florida International, Maryland, and Texas Southern by an average of 27 points per game.



Their 32 point home loss to Cincy says more than any of those four victories against below-average teams. Cincinnati scored 47 points and put up 562 yards of total offense against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights, meanwhile, had just 293 total yards and a 1.5 YPC average.



Regardless of the Cincy game, Rutgers still ranks 29th nationally in total defense and 7th in rush defense. Granted they haven’t faced and top-tier talent since Cincinnati but an improved defense could cause problems for Pittsburgh’s offense.


Quarterback play



Both teams have good running attacks. Pitt’s true freshmen Dion Lewis ranks third nationally with 738 rushing yards. Rutgers features a very effective three-headed rushing attack with Joe Martinek, Jourdan Brooks and De-Antwan Williams combining for 868 yards and 10 touchdowns.



This game will come down to which quarterback can make more plays. Pitt QB Bill Stull is completing 67% of his passes for 13 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions. However, he did throw a pick-six that put them in a 14-3 deficit last week against Connecticut.



Rutgers QB Tom Savage hasn’t wowed anybody with his 56% completions or his 138 yards per game; but he also hasn’t thrown an interception and doesn’t make many other mistakes.



Trap Game



Pitt is coming off of a come-from-behind last second win against Connecticut at home last week. They now travel to Rutgers to face the Scarlet Knights in what will be a very emotional game for the seniors.



At this point of the season, it’s apparent that the Panthers clearly have the better, more experienced team. However, Rutgers had a week off to prepare and it’s obvious that the Scarlet Knight head coach Greg Shiano and the rest of the coaching staff knows Pittsburgh very well, having defeated them four years in a row.



Pittsburgh may be extremely fired up for this game, but Rutgers should be well prepared and it’s hard to imagine the Scarlet Knights rolling over on a Friday night home game.



Line Movement



The line opened at 3 and has stayed fairly steady around there. The total opened at 49 before sinking slightly to a current 48.5.



Trends



The Panthers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Friday games and 12-4 ATS in their last 16 games in October. They are also just 6-13 ATS in their last 19 games as a favorite. The ‘under’ is 6-2 in Panthers last 8 games overall and 4-0 in Panthers last 4 conference games.



Rutgers is 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall and 25-10-1 ATS in their last 36 games as an underdog. As a home dog, they are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games. They are ‘under’ 12-3-1 in their last 16 games in October and also ‘under’ 4-1 in Scarlet Knights last 5 home games.



The road team is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 meetings but Pittsburgh [road team] is just 2-5 ATS in their last 7 meetings.



Weather



Game-time temperature is forecasted in the mid-forties with a 50% chance of rain.

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