Pitt visits the Orange Bowl to face No. 1 Miami

The Panthers will look to upset the Hurricanes for first place in the Big East in Thursday night's ESPN matchup.

Pitt 8-2 (5-0) takes on Miami 9-0 (4-0) in a huge match up with BCS standings and the Big East Championship on the line. Miami is the defending National Champion and all eyes will be on this ESPN Thursday night matchup. Miami has won an incredible 31 games in a row and has proved they are the premiere team in college football. Miami pretty much toyed with Florida and Tennessee as they posted easy victories over them this year. Both Florida and Tennessee are national powerhouses each and every year.

Heisman Trophy candidate Ken Dorsey leads Miami on offense. The 6-5, 200 lb senior QB leads the Big East conference in passing. He is 152 of 279 for 2,265 yards and 21 TDs this season. He has shown that he can be rattled if he is hit hard. He also will take chances and force the ball to make a big play. His success as a starter is amazing. The Hurricanes feature the fastest RB in Miami history in Willis McGahee. He is 6-1, 224 lbs and only a sophomore! McGahee has rushed for 1,188 yards on 190 carries for an amazing 6.3 yards per carry. He has also rushed for 17 TDs in only 9 games. Tight End Kellen Winslow Jr may be the best tight end in college football. He is just a sophomore, but this 6-5, 233 lb end is as good as they come. He has 37 catches for 472 yards and 6 TDs this year. Junior Andre Johnson is Miami's top WR. He has NFL size at 6-3, 227 lbs and great speed to match. He has 33 catches for 592 yards and 6 TDs. Johnson averages 17.9 yards per catch.

Miami is ranked 1st in total offense and total defense in the Big East. Pitt is ranked 2nd in the conference in total defense. On defense, a pair of standout defensive linemen leads Miami. Huge 6-2, 350 lb sophomore Vince Wilfork and 6-5, 297 lb senior William Joseph lead the way. Sophomore Antrel Rolle is a top defensive back. He is 6-1, 189 lbs and is a playmaker. Another sophomore, 6-3, 220 lb Sean Taylor is another excellent defensive back. As always, Miami has an excellent linebacker unit. Junior Jonathan Vilma at 6-2, 220 lbs is known for his hard-hitting style. Junior DJ Williams, 6-2, 147 lbs is the former No. 1 high school recruit in the country and is an outstanding athlete. Two seniors lead the way at defensive end - 6-4, 257 lb Cornelius Green and 6-3, 261 lb Jamaal Green. Both are among the top 10 in the Big East in sacks.

What will Pitt have to do to upset Miami? They will need to play mistake free football and also force a few Miami turnovers. Miami has an excellent offense, so they will score some points. Pitt needs to sustain drives on offense so they can keep the Miami offense off the field as much as possible. Pitt also needs to get the ball into the end zone when they enter the redzone. You won't beat Miami by kicking field goals. The Panthers will also need to keep the Miami defense honest by mixing up the pass and run. Pitt's defense is just as good as Miami's, if not better. It may be the best Miami has seen this season. Still, if the Panthers are going to have a shot, they must move the ball on offense and put points on the board. Miami's offense can score on anyone, so Pitt will need to keep pace.

Pitt's defense is the 10th best in the country with an average of 282.7 yards per game. They are a confident bunch on defense, with Gerald Hayes, Claude Harriott and Torrie Cox leading the way.

On offense, when Pitt mixes the run and pass, they are tough to stop. Miami will most likely try and take star WR Larry Fitzgerald out of his game. Rod Rutherford will then need to look to Lamar Slade, Kris Wilson and Rosie Bynes to attack the Miami defense. The Panthers will also need to get the running game going with Brandon Miree and Lousaka Polite to balance out the attack. Pitt has won 9 straight games in the conference and 14 of their last 16.

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