This Thursday night (7:30 pm ET) in Big East play the Pittsburgh Panthers (5-2, 3-0 in Big East) travel to Storrs, CT to take on the University of Connecticut Huskies (4-4, 1-2). Pittsburgh won the last meeting between the two teams last season by a score of 24-21 in Pittsburgh. The Panthers have won three straight contests coming into the game after a lackluster 2-3 start to the 2010 campaign, including a 20-3 win over Louisville in their last game on October 30. UConn defeated West Virginia 16-13 in their last game on October 29, after losing their two preceding contests, including a 26-0 loss to the same Louisville team that Pitt handled relatively easily.
Pitt is led on offense by their running game with sophomore running back Ray Graham who has accumulated 685 yards rushing on 94 carries (7.3 YPC) and 7 TDs, and last year’s freshman sensation Dion Lewis who has not matched his production of a year ago with 479 yards rushing on 109 carries (4.4 YPC ) and 5 TDs on the season. Sophomore quarterback Tino Sunseri has been very consistent for the Panthers this season throwing for 12 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions with a 65.9% completion percentage. The Panther defense has been a strength this season, ranking 11th in the nation with an average of 299 yards per game allowed.
The UConn Huskies feature a balanced offensive attack led by senior quarterback Zach Frazer, who has been somewhat of a disappointment with only a 55.5% completion percentage and 771 yards passing on the season. The Huskies’ running game revolves around junior Jordan Todman who has run for 954 yards, averaging 5.5 YPC with 9 touchdowns on the season. The defense for UConn has been average at best this season, and the Huskies have given up 163.9 YPG on the ground this season. The UConn run defense will have to play better than they have so far this season if they hope to slow down the Panther running game and keep Pitt from controlling the clock.
The over is 13-3 in the last 16 Connecticut home games, and the over is 7-2 in the Huskies’ last 9 games in the Big East. Pittsburgh has won 3 out of the last 5 contests against UConn overall.
Pittsburgh vs. Connecticut Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Pittsburgh Panthers -5.5
@ Connecticut Huskies +5.5
Over 47 (110)
Under 47 (110)
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Pittsburgh vs. Connecticut Betting Predictions:
Spread Prediction (Top Play) – Pittsburgh should be able to run the ball at will against the Huskies’ defense and control the time of possession throughout the game. UConn has not shown consistency at the quarterback position all season, and Pittsburgh has, that will be the big difference in this game. The ability of the Panthers to run the ball and set up play-action passes for Sunseri will be a key to winning this contest. Look for the stout Panther defense to shut down UConn for most of the game, and the Huskies’ offense will continue to struggle as it has all season.
Over/Under Prediction – Take the under here, as both teams like to keep it on the ground and control the clock. UConn will have a tough time putting points up against the rugged Panther defense, and Pittsburgh will pound the ball on the ground all game long, making for a low-scoring contest. If UConn is unable to get the running game going, they will be hard pressed to put up points through the air against the Panthers.