|Pitt RB Ray Graham needs 52 yards on Saturday vs. USF to reach the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career.(AP)|
Kickoff: Saturday, 7 p.m. ET
Spread: Pitt by 6.5
Watchability: Low. Coming off an impressive showing in a 27-6 upset of Rutgers, the Panthers need a win to become bowl eligible. On the other end, it could be USF coach Skip Holtz last chance to save his job. In a season that opened with high expectations, Holtz has been beset by a rash of injuries. The Bulls haven't been the same since QB B.J. Daniels and RB Lindsey Lamar suffered season-ending injuries a few weeks ago.
Shining stars: Pitt -- QB Tino Sunseri. The senior quarterback earned Big East player of the week honors on Monday after a 227-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Scarlet Knights. Sunseri needs 108 passing yards against the Bulls to reach 3,000 yards in a season for the first time in his career. After a frustrating junior season, Sunseri has been remarkably consistent in 2012. With 18 TDs and just two INTs, Sunseri ranks second in the conference in passing efficiency (154.6). USF -- WR Andre Davis. At times this season, Davis has looked like the top wideout in the conference and the best pro prospect of a strong receiving crop. Before a Week 10 loss to Syracuse, Orange coach Doug Marrone compared him favorably with USC WRs Marqise Lee and Robert Woods. Davis, though, has struggled without Daniels in the lineup. In the Bulls' last three games, Davis only has nine catches for 76 yards. In South Florida's first three games of the year, he had 21 catches for 288 yards and two TDs.
Who could steal the show: Pitt -- RB Ray Graham. Since removing a knee brace last month, Graham has returned to his old self. Graham has rushed for at least 100 yards in three of his last four games and needs just 52 yards against USF to reach the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. The senior will also likely move into second place behind Tony Dorsett in school history for rushing yards in a career. As Graham has regained his explosiveness, he continues to move up the NFL Draft charts. USF -- LB Sam Barrington. In a down season for a run defense that has allowed 153 ypg, the senior has been one of the few bright spots. With 14 tackles, a TFL and a sack in his past two games, Barrington has continued to play hard when he could have easily relented. Barrington ranks eighth in the conference in tackles per game with 7.3. He'll be needed to contain Graham and Pitt freshman RB Rushel Shell.
You going? Ranking the road trip: Temperatures are expected to be in the high 50s, low 60s for the Bulls' final game of the season. For USF fans, at least the contest is expected to be more competitive than the Florida State-Georgia Tech matchup in the ACC Championship Game. For Pitt fans, it could be their last chance to see Graham, Sunseri and WR Mike Shanahan in a Panthers' uniform.
Magic number for Pitt: 11. In five wins, the Panthers have allowed just 11.6 ppg. In six losses, however, Pitt has nearly allowed 30 points per defeat (29.5). Pitt also has surrendered at least 460 yards of total offense in three of the defeats.
Magic number for USF: 10. With freshman Matt Floyd at quarterback, the Bulls have averaged 9.5 points in their past two games. In the Bulls' last three contests they've only averaged 10.6. The lack of output must be frustrating for Holtz, considering his team averaged 26.5 ppg and 439 yards of total offense over its first four games of the season.
The game comes down to: Pitt's ability to move the ball. Since the Bulls' offense has struggled to produce under Floyd, the defense must keep South Florida in the game. When Pitt's offense is clicking, it may be more explosive than both Rutgers and Cincinnati -- two teams that could share the conference title.
Prediction: Pitt 23, USF 10
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