McKillop, Brytus Earn Big East Honors

Two Pitt football players were honored by the Big East Conference for their roles in the Panthers' 21-20 victory against previously unbeaten Iowa (3-1) this past Saturday at Heinz Field.

Pittsburgh fifth-year senior middle linebacker Scott McKillop was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season, while fifth-year senior punter Dave Brytus was selected the Conference's Special Teams Player of the Week.

McKillop (Export, Pa.-Kiski Area High School) collected a game-high 10 tackles, was in on three stops behind the line and had a quarterback sack. The All-American spearheaded a defensive effort that held Iowa 15 points less than its season scoring average.

Brytus (McDonald, Pa.-West Allegheny High School) averaged 47.8 yards on eight punts, including punts of 60 and 57 yards and made a critical play late in the contest to drastically alter field position.

With Pitt clinging to a one-point lead with 2:28 remaining and facing a 4th-and-nine at its own 42, Brytus boomed a 57-yard punt that rolled out of bound at the Iowa 1-yard line. Starting in the shadow of its goal posts, Iowa never got beyond its 16, as Pitt clinched the victory by forcing and recovering a fumble by the Hawkeyes with 50 seconds remaining.

Brytus' season average of 43.8 yards per punt ranks third in the Big East and 16th nationally. This is the second Big East weekly special teams honor of his career. He had one award last season.

In addition to his high production, McKillop was responsible for one of the game's most significant defensive plays. Pitt trailed late in the third period, 17-14, when an interception gave the Hawkeyes a possession at the Panthers 47. McKillop immediately turned momentum back to Pitt by sacking Iowa quarterback Jake Christensen for a seven-yard loss. This led to a three-and-out for the Hawkeyes. The Panthers responded on their next possession with an 80-yard touchdown drive in nine plays to seize the lead for good.

McKillop leads the Big East in tackles (tied, 10.3 tackles per game) and tackles for loss (1.67 per game). He ranks second in the Conference in passes defended (one per game). This is the third Big East weekly honor of his career and second of 2008. He also was honored two weeks ago for his 15-tackle performance against Buffalo.

For more information on McKillop, go to

Pitt (2-1) opens Big East play Saturday at noon at Syracuse (1-3). The game will be televised by ESPN Regional as part of its "Big East Network Game of the Week'' package. Mike Gleason (play-by-play), former Panthers quarterback John Congemi (commentary) and Quint Kessenich (sideline) form the broadcast crew.

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