September 16th, 2011 by Jim Field
Pitt (2-0) at Iowa (1-1); Saturday, 11 a.m. (ESPN2)
Line: Iowa by 3
Series Record: Pitt leads 3-1
Last Meeting: Pitt won 21-20 in 2008
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Pitt’s 2-0 record isn’t as pretty as it looks. The Panthers
struggled with FCS Maine last week, but a road win over a quality
Big Ten opponent would give them a head of steam with Notre Dame
visiting next week. The Hawkeyes need to bounce back from a tough
loss at Iowa State and prove they can win at Kinnick Stadium
against one of the annual favorites in the Big East.
Iowa’s defensive line vs. Pitt RB Ray Graham: Graham leads the
nation in rushing yards, and the Hawkeyes had all kinds of trouble
with Iowa State’s running game a week ago. If Iowa can’t shore up a
rebuilt front four, it could be a big day for Graham.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Iowa: WR Marvin McNutt. The Cyclones did a good job of keeping
the explosive McNutt under wraps. But McNutt is dangerous in the
open field and could give Iowa the big plays it’ll need in what
should be a close game.
Pitt: QB Tino Sunseri. He’s had his issues adjusting to coach
Todd Graham’s new spread offense, and the Hawkeyes will be the best
defense he’s seen yet.
FACTS & FIGURES
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is a western Pennsylvania native and was
a graduate assistant at Pitt in 1980, when it finished 11-1…This
will mark the first trip to Iowa is 60 years for the Panthers, who
lost 34-17 in Iowa City in 1951…Pitt is 81-113-9 against Big Ten
opponents, while the Hawkeyes are 5-4 against the Big
East…Saturday’s game is one of five featuring Big Ten teams
against non-conference BCS opponents.