Back on Track?
Pittsburgh , PA - Pittsburgh has played like a Top 25 team on the road this season, going 4-0 including a win over a top 10 opponent.
Inside Heinz Field, however, it hasn't looked nearly as comfortable.
The 25th-ranked Panthers, coming off a four-overtime road victory, will try to reverse their home woes on Saturday when they look for their first win over Louisville since 1983.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Pittsburgh -6 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 65% of bets for this game have been placed on Pittsburgh -6 (View College Football bet percentages).
Pittsburgh (6-2, 2-1 Big East) began the season at No. 25, but its stay in the poll was brief. The Panthers were upset 27-17 by Bowling Green in their season opener, and didn't get back in the Top 25 until a 26-21 win at then-No. 10 South Florida on Oct. 2.
But following a victory at Navy two weeks later, Pitt returned home and lost 54-34 to Rutgers, the most points the Panthers allowed since Dave Wannstedt took over the reins of his alma mater in 2005. After entering that game ranked 17th, they were right back out of the Top 25, falling to 0-3 at Heinz Field under Wannstedt when they've been nationally ranked.
All it took was another road trip for Pitt to jump back in the Top 25. With quarterback Bill Stull sidelined with a concussion he'd sustained against Rutgers, the Panthers relied heavily on star tailback LeSean McCoy last Saturday at Notre Dame. McCoy ran for 101 of his 169 yards from the fourth quarter on, and Pitt rallied from a pair of 14-point deficits to knock off the Fighting Irish 36-33 in four overtimes.
"I can't describe the heart our football team has," Wannstedt said. "They never came unglued. As many adverse things that happened in the game, turnovers and so forth, nobody ever folded, nobody ever lost their poise, lost their confidence."
More importantly, the win made the Panthers bowl eligible for the first time in Wannstedt's four years at the helm.
Stull is expected back against Louisville (5-3, 1-2), and though the junior hasn't led Pitt to a spectacular passing attack, he's generally taken care of the football. Stull has thrown five interceptions in 210 pass attempts this season, while backup Pat Bostick has thrown four in 38 attempts, including three last Saturday.
McCoy has gained at least 142 yards in each of his last five games, and he's scored 10 touchdowns in his last four. Like the rest of the Panthers, he's had more success on the road. McCoy is averaging 5.8 yards per carry away from home and 4.5 at Heinz Field.
Wannstedt isn't sure what the reason is for Pitt's home struggles.
"Things happen in the course of a game," he said. "The one thing I would say in all of our home games ... our kids came back at some points in the game and gave us a chance to win."
The Panthers have lost seven straight to Louisville - including three games since the Cardinals joined the Big East before the 2005 season.
Louisville, however, isn't exactly coming into this meeting on a high note. The Cardinals twice fell behind by two touchdowns and couldn't rally last Saturday at Syracuse, falling 28-21 to an Orange team that had previously been 0-6 against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents.
Senior Hunter Cantwell threw an interception for the fifth straight game, giving him 10 on the season.
"Nobody's happy around here," coach Steve Kragthorpe said. "I'm not happy. I'm as upset as I've ever been."
If Stull is back, Pitt will likely look to attack the Cardinals through the air. Louisville is 80th in the nation against the pass, allowing 224.9 yards per game, but is ninth in the country against the run, yielding just 91.6 yards a contest.
McCoy had 120 yards on 26 carries and three receptions for 60 yards against the Cardinals on Oct. 27, 2007. He scored with 4:27 left to tie the score at 17 before Louisville rallied for a 24-17 win.
Top Betting Trends
All games in this series since 1992
LOUISVILLE is 4-2 against the spread versus PITTSBURGH since 1992
LOUISVILLE is 6-0 straight up against PITTSBURGH since 1992
2 of 3 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games over the last 3 seasons
PITTSBURGH is 1-1 against the spread versus LOUISVILLE over the last 3 seasons
LOUISVILLE is 2-0 straight up against PITTSBURGH over the last 3 seasons
1 of 2 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
All games played at PITTSBURGH since 1992
LOUISVILLE is 3-0 against the spread versus PITTSBURGH since 1992
LOUISVILLE is 3-0 straight up against PITTSBURGH since 1992
1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games played at PITTSBURGH over the last 3 seasons.
LOUISVILLE is 1-0 against the spread versus PITTSBURGH over the last 3 seasons
LOUISVILLE is 1-0 straight up against PITTSBURGH over the last 3 seasons
1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
Key Player Injuries
[S] Richard Raglin is out indefinitely - Arm - 10/12/08
[WR] Jajuan Spillman has been dismissed from the team. - Disciplinary - 07
[WR] Scott Long is expected to miss the rest of the season - Knee - 10/29/
[RB] George Stripling has been dismissed from the team. - Disciplinary - 0
No significant injuries
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Posted: 11/04/08 1:57 PM