Panther Report

The Panthers' run game finally got untracked due in no small part to a consistent offensive line. For perhaps the first time all season, coach Walt Harris praised the line's play in a 20-17 victory over Boston College on Saturday.

"We have a lot of young players still trying to learn what it is to play consistently at this level," Harris said. "It was very exciting for us. In our minds it was a real good win."

LT Rob Petitti, LG Charles Spencer, C Justin Belarski, RG John Simonitis and RT Mike McGlynn sprung tailback Raymond Kirkley for 88 yards and one touchdown. The Panthers rushed for a season-high 177 yards in the victory.

Like every coach, Harris is searching for consistency midway through the campaign. He said Pittsburgh (4-2) played its best four quarters of the season on Saturday, but now must maintain that level against Rutgers (4-2) this weekend.

Pittsburgh quarterback Tyler Palko is averaging 207.7 passing yards per game and has displayed uncommon mobility in recent weeks. That's a good sign as the Panthers look to continue their dominance in the series. The Panthers have bested the Scarlet Knights in five straight meetings and hold a 10-3 edge in Big East play.


Offense: QB Tyler Palko was finally given some run support as the Panthers managed 177 yards on the ground last week. Palko will be even more dangerous with a sound rushing attack behind him. Pittsburgh is averaging 24.3 points per game, fourth in the Big East.

Defense: The Panthers own the Big East's fourth-ranked defense in terms of scoring (22.2 ppg.) and yardage (375.7). LB H.B. Blades leads the team with 57 tackles, 8.5 for loss.

Quote The Coach: "It was a good win for us, now we have to come back to earth. ... This game against Rutgers is going to be a real challenge -- it always has been. We play good for a half, then we don't show up." -- Pittsburgh coach Walt Harris, on his team's 20-17 win over Boston College on Saturday and matchup with Rutgers this weekend.

Inside The Game

Rutgers at Pittsburgh, Oct. 23 -- The Panthers have won the past five meetings, including a 42-32 decision at Rutgers last season. To make it six in a row, Pittsburgh's secondary must show up to defend the Scarlet Knights' passing offense, which has been the most productive in the league. The Panthers surrendered 367 yards through the air to Boston College last weekend.

QB Tyler Palko -- Hasn't thrown an interception in either of the past two games. Palko completed 12 of 27 passes for 131 yards in the win over Boston College. He also rushed for 55 yards and a 3-yard touchdown.

P Adam Graessle -- The sophomore leads the league with a 43.7-yard punting average. He managed a 79-yard punt against Boston College.

Injury Report:  LT Rob Petitti (concussion) returned to the field last week after a one-game absence. Defensive end Kyle Smith, offensive lineman Neal Tracey and fullbacks Tim Murphy and Justin Acierno did not dress for the Boston College game due to injury.

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