"Turn It Blue''

Some schools have white-outs, while others have black-outs for their fans to support the football team during big games.

The University of Pittsburgh has scheduled its own version for the Panthers' game against South Florida Saturday at noon at Heinz Field. Pitt athletics director Steve Pederson wants to "Turn it Blue.''

Pederson discussed how this new initiative came about.

"A couple weeks ago, I got a letter from some of our students, and they thought it would be fun to turn the stadium blue,'' Pederson said. "And they wanted to ask, not only our students, but all the fans at our stadium to come dressed in blue to a game to celebrate and have fun together.

"So, we decided that Homecoming was a perfect time to do that (and) have initiated a plan to 'Turn it Blue.' (So), we've asked all the fans coming to our game to wear blue. The students actually will be given blue (Pitt) T-shirts when they come to the game, but all of our fans are encouraged to wear blue.''

Pitt's players have praised their fans, especially the student section, for strong turnouts and support this season.

"Sure, they've been great all year,'' redshirt sophomore fullback Henry Hynoski said. "They're very loud and have been supportive, cheering us on, and we feed off that. So, I just hope we keep playing well, and they keep it up, too.''

Pederson noted that nearly 45,000 season tickets have been sold this season, the highest number for Pitt since the 2003 sold-out season, so there is hope for a sellout for the big game against South Florida.

"This has been an exciting year for us in so many ways, certainly with the way Coach Wannstedt and the team have been performing, it's been exciting,'' Pederson said. "But it's also been exciting, because our fans have been so terrific. ... We have a lot of tickets already sold for this game, but there are tickets that still can be sold.''

The City of Pittsburgh recently was chosen by the Sporting News as the No. 1 sports city in America, primarily due to the Steelers winning the Super Bowl and the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup, but Pederson believed that Pitt can add to that success as well.

"It's an exciting time in the City of Pittsburgh,'' Pederson said. "I think it's fitting when Pittsburgh has been chosen as the No. 1 sports city in America that we continue to celebrate all aspects of this, including the fact that Pitt football is such an important part of the history and fabric of our city.''

And with the "Turn it Blue'' initiative, Pitt football fans have a chance to play a large role as well.

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