Pittsburgh Football 2012 Bowl Capsule

Pittsburgh Panthers
Big East


Pittsburgh got off to a slow start, losing to FCS team Youngstown State and conference foe Cincinnati. But then they got a big win over Virginia Tech. That victory did not turn out to be quite as impressive as many thought back in September, but for a squad that lost to the Penguins, any win would be a good one. The Panthers, after two two game winning streaks and three two game losing streaks, had to win their last couple of games to reach the six win mark. And that is when Coach Paul Chryst’s team really stepped up and took care of business against Rutgers and at South Florida.

2012 Record: 6-6, 3-4
Coach: Paul Chryst
Coach Bowl Record: 0-0

Big Wins: 9/15 Virginia Tech (35-17), 11/24 Rutgers (27-6)
Bad Losses: 9/1 Youngstown State (17-31), 11/9 at Connecticut (17-24)

The big reason Pittsburgh won those last two games was because of the defense. The Panthers allowed Rutgers to score just six points and only allowed three to the Bulls. During their six wins, the opposition never tallied more than 17 points against Pitt. Safety Jason Hendricks deserves a lot of the credit. He leads the team with 73 tackles, but also creates quite a few turnovers. Hendricks has picked off five passes this season. K’Waun Williams, Lafayette Pitts and Jarred Holley can make some big plays in the secondary as well. The young front four has done a pretty good job getting pressure into the backfield. Tackle Aaron Donald is among the best in the Big East. The team as a whole does not tally a ton of sacks, but Donald can at least push the line and help stuff the run and put pressure on the quarterback.

Ray Graham is a great back, but the rushing offense has not lived up to their potential this season. Graham did break the 1,000 yard mark during the final game of the season and tallied 13 total touchdowns. Graham can be a difference maker, but Pittsburgh has been in many situations where they had to, for the most part, abandon the run game. Tino Sunseri has not garnered much attention this year, but he really has had a very good season. The senior passed for 3,103 yards and 19 touchdowns. Those may not be numbers that blow anybody away, but he did complete 66.5 percent of his passes and threw just two touchdowns. With receivers like Mike Shanahan and Devin Street, the Panthers passing game can be very effective. With the defense playing well and the offense having plenty of dangerous players, it all comes down to consistency for this group. If Pitt shows up to play, they can beat just about anybody on any given day. If they don’t, this is a team that can still lose to Youngstown State.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Ray Graham, RB, 1,077 yards
Passing: Tino Sunseri, QB, 3,103 yards
Receiving: Mike Shanahan, WR, 926 yards
Tackles: Jason Hendricks, S, 73
Sacks: Aaron Donald, DT, 5.5
Interceptions: Jason Hendricks, S, 5

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 139.36 (87th in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 267.73 (40, 3)
Total Offense: 407.09 (60, 4)
Scoring Offense: 27.45 (73, 4)
Rushing Defense: 140.09 (36, 4)
Pass Defense: 204.73 (28, 2)
Total Defense: 344.82 (25, 3)
Scoring Defense: 21.18 (23, 4)
Turnover Margin: .73 (23, 2)
Sacks: 1.82 (73, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 2.73 (100, 8)

Recent Bowl Appearances:
2011    Compass Bowl        SMU (6-28)
2010    Compass Bowl        Kentucky (27-10)
2009    Car Care of Texas Bowl    North Carolina (19-17)
2008    Sun Bowl            Oregon State (0-3)
2004    Fiesta Bowl            Utah (7-35)

*all team stats through 11/24


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