Awards Keep Rolling In

Pitt claimed the Big East Conference's weekly offensive and defensive Player of the Week awards Monday following its 26-21 upset win against No. 10 South Florida this past Thursday night in Tampa, Fla.

Fifth-year senior middle linebacker Scott McKillop was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Week, while sophomore tailback LeSean McCoy was named the Conference's Offensive Player of the Week.

"For us to be successful and win a game like that, Scott and LeSean need to show up and play well,'' Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt said. "In big games, your big guys need to show up and play big. ... For both of those guys to have big games in that type of environment and that type of setting is just great.

"(And) for them to get recognized for it, that's a real positive thing for them individually and a great thing for the University of Pittsburgh.''

For McKillop, it is his third Big East weekly honor of the year and fourth of his career. Sunday, he was also named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week for his USF performance and picked up The Lott Trophy "IMPACT Player of the Week'' award later Monday.

McKillop (Export, Pa., Kiski Area High School) had a team-high 12 tackles -- all solo -- two quarterback sacks, three total tackles for loss and thwarted a fake field goal against the Bulls. He played a prominent role as Pitt grounded one of the nation's most powerful offenses and elusive quarterback Matt Grothe.

USF entered the game averaging 464 yards in total offense, but produced just 245 against Pitt. Grothe was sacked twice by McKillop for losses totaling 24 yards with both sacks coming at critical junctures.

A strong candidate for college football's most prestigious defensive honors, McKillop ranks third nationally in solo stops (7.4 per game), fourth in tackles for loss (tied, 1.80 per game) and 13th in total tackles (tied, 10.40 per game). He leads the Big East in each of those categories.

Named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, The Lott Trophy is awarded to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Now in its fifth year, The Lott Trophy is the first college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player.

McKillop was selected for The Lott Trophy's weekly honor by The Legends Football Coaches Association, including longtime Arkansas coach Frank Broyles and former West Virginia coach Don Nehlen.

"McKillop is a five-star athlete whose play disrupted South Florida's offense,'' Broyles said. "He took them out of their game.''

"When they sent him up the middle, nobody could block him,'' Nehlen added.

Pitt will receive $1,000 for its general scholarship fund in recognition of McKillop's performance.

McCoy (Harrisburg, Pa., Bishop McDevitt High School and Milford Academy) earned his first Big East honor of the season and second for his career.

Facing a USF defense that had only been yielding 58 rushing yards per game, McCoy ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries (5.1 per run). His TDs covered six and three yards, the latter providing the winning points with 4:43 remaining in the game.

"(McCoy) has a lot of natural ability,'' Wannstedt said. "A running back can have a tough time putting up big numbers when he carries it 10-15 times. Sometimes, they have to carry the ball enough to give them enough opportunities. And he's growing up, too.

"This is his first full season as a starter and dealing with all the media hype. (So), he's getting better, like our team, and he's continuing to learn. So, he's going to keep being more effective with the more he develops.''

McCoy figured prominently in the winning drive — he set up his own winning TD run with a 19-yard burst through the USF defense to put the Panthers at the Bulls 3. It was his second consecutive rushing effort for more than 140 yards and his ninth overall past 100 yards in just 17 career games.

McCoy is averaging 106.60 rushing yards per game to rank 18th nationally and second in the Big East. In five games, he has totaled 533 yards on 117 attempts (4.6 per carry.) and seven touchdowns.

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To learn more about The Lott Trophy, log on to The Lott Trophy is sponsored by the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation in Newport Beach, Calif. and emphasizes characteristics that Lott displayed in his distinguished career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

On the strength of its four consecutive wins, Pitt (4-1, 2-0 Big East) surged back into the Associated Press Top 25 ranking this week at No. 24. The Panthers also receive votes in the USA Today coaches' poll at No. 33.

Pitt has a bye this week and will be back in action Oct. 18 when it faces Navy (4-2) at 3:30 p.m. at Annapolis, Md. The game will be nationally televised by CBS College Sports Network.

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