|Ray Graham (1) and Tino Sunseri (12) will be playing their last home game as Pitt Panthers on Saturday. (US Presswire)|
Kickoff: Saturday, noon ET (ESPN2)
Spread: Pittsburgh by 2
Watchability: If Louisville beats Connecticut Saturday (which is not a big if), the outcome of this game doesn't matter in terms of the Big East title race. But if Louisville somehow falls to the Huskies, Rutgers can clinch the conference title with a win. Of course the scheduling gods have decided to run these games concurrently, so there may be some scoreboard watching.
Shining stars: Rutgers -- LB Khaseem Greene. With the Scarlet Knights offense not all that concerned with putting points on the board, much of the onus has fallen on the Rutgers D. And that seems okay to Greene. The senior has thrice been named confrence defensive player of the week, including last week against Cincinnati when he recorded 11 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks. Pittsburgh -- RB Ray Graham. After a huge game at Notre Dame, Graham stumbled somewhat in a loss to Connecticut. Pitt needs Graham to produce, or else the Panthers are one-dimensional and unable to get anything going offensively. Saturday will be a tall task for Graham as he goes up against the nation's 12th-best rush defense (including Greene ... Graham's half-brother). Graham did have success against the Scarlet Knights last season, rushing for 159 yards and a score.
Who could steal the show: Rutgers -- RB Savon Huggins. Huggins had a career day filling in for the hobbled Jawan Jamison Saturday, rushing for 179 yards on 41 carries. He clearly exhibited that he deserved a more expanded role, and that is likely to occur. Both Huggins and Jamison told the Star-Ledger they'd be open to a timeshare situation. Pittsburgh -- QB Tino Sunseri. Saturday will mark the final home game for Sunseri and wide receiver Mike Shanahan. Pitt fans would like nothing more than to see those two go out in style. Of course, the Rutgers defense may have something to say about that.
You going? Ranking the road trip: It's senior day, meaning the last chance for Pitt fans to see Ray Graham and Co. in a Panthers uniform. Plus, Pitt has a chance to hand Rutgers its first conference loss.
Magic number for Rutgers: 1. With a win (or Louisville loss), the Scarlet Knights will clinch at least a share of the Big East championship for the first time in school history.
Magic number for Pittsburgh: 206. Sunseri has thrown 206 consecutuve passes without an interception, good for second-most in the nation. The Rutgers defense, however, has 15 interceptions, which is best in the Big East.
The game comes down to: Protecting Sunseri. Pittsburgh is among the nation's worst in sacks allowed, so it will come as no surprise when the Scarlet Knights come after the quarterback early and often. If Sunseri can get time, though, he can utilize several dangerous weapons that are at his disposal.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 21, Rutgers 20
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