Pittsburgh Panthers (5-3 SU, 4-1-2 ATS) vs. Connecticut Huskies (4-4 SU, 3-4 ATS), Week 11 College Football, 7:30 p.m. EST, Thursday, November 11, 2010, Rentschler Field, East Hartford, Conn. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Pit -5.5/Uconn +5.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
After a disappointing start to the season, the Pitt Panthers have got it together in Big East play. They are 3-0 in the conference and alone atop the Big East. In fact, every other single team in the conference has exactly two conference losses, while Pitt is undefeated, so the Panthers have some breathing room, especially if they can win at UConn on Thursday night.
Pitt had some high expectations with Heisman candidate running back Dion Lewis in the Panthers backfield. But he isn’t exactly having the year he was supposed to have and the Panthers struggled in their first five games. They opened up with a tough three-point loss at Utah, a team that just lost its first game of the season last weekend, and two games later they were blown out by Miami. Two games after that, they lost 23-17 at Notre Dame.
But in Big East play, Pitt has rolled by it’s opponents. The Panthers won 45-14 at Syracuse, 41-21 at home over Rutgers, and most recently 20-3 at home over Louisville. In the win over Louisville, Pitt led 6-3 at the half before shutting out Louisville 14-0 in the second half. Ray Graham and Lewis each had a rushing touchdown. Lewis had 18 carries for 65 yards, and Graham had nine carries for 40 yards. Pitt QB Tino Sunseri was 13-for-24 passing for 123 yards. The Panthers held Louisville to 82 yards passing.
UConn is 4-0 at home and 0-4 on the road this season. So this will be an interesting matchup, as the Huskies have been so much better at home than they have been on the road. The Huskies are averaging about 41 points per game at home and less than 13 points per game on the road. They are allowing less than 15 points per game at home and more than 28 points per game on the road. They were shut out 26-0 at Louisville a few weeks ago and then came back and beat West Virginia 16-13 at home a week later.
In the 16-13 home win over West Virginia, Dave Teggart kicked a 27-yard field goal in overtime to win it. UConn QB Zach Frazer was 18-for-29 passing for 166 yards. RB Jordan Todman had 33 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown. WR Michael Smith had six receptions for 56 yards. Most importantly, UConn forced four turnovers and had no turnovers of their own. But the Huskies did allow 254 rushing yards to the Mountaineers. They cannot allow Lewis and Graham to run like the Mountaineers did.
For the season, Frazer has played in six of UConn’s eight games and has 771 passing yards and just two touchdowns and one interception. Todman is the key to the Huskies offense. He has 954 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. If the Panthers can stop the run, they most likely win the game easily.
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Sunseri has 1,672 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. Graham has 685 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, while Lewis has 479 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Jon Baldwin is the team’s leading receiver with 33 receptions for 546 yards and four touchdowns.
Pitt is 4-0 ATS in its last four conference games, 4-0 ATS in its last four games as a favorite, 3-0-1 ATS in its last four games following an ATS win, 5-1 ATS in its last six games as a road favorite, and 4-0-1 ATS in its last five games overall. Pitt is also just 1-4-1 ATS in its last six Thursday games. UConn is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games as a home underdog, 4-1 ATS in its last five November games, and 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games as an underdog. The under is 4-0 in UConn’s last four games as an underdog. The underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings between these teams.
Ryno’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Uconn wins this game straight up. Take them at +5.5 and then sprinkle in some lunch money on the moneyline! Good luck!