Big East Schedule Preview: Pittsburgh

As rough as Cincy has it finding replacements on the defensive side of the ball, Pittsburgh and head coach Dave Wannstedt have it equally rough on offense.

LeSean McCoy, the man that carried the Panther offense on his back for 21 touchdowns and 1,793 yards, is now taking snaps with the Philadelphia Eagles and his backup, LaRod Stephens-Howling, got picked up at the end of the NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals.

So now for the Panthers, all of the pressure falls onto quarterback Bill Stull. Stull had a solid year last season, helping the Panthers grab nine wins and a Sun Bowl appearance to go along with 2,356 passing yards, nine touchdowns and ten picks. .

But throwing for over 2,000 yards with eight or nine defenders staring at LeSean McCoy is a lot easier than doing it without him. .

The bottom line for Pittsburgh this season is making the offensive transition from a ground-and-pound style with an All-American tailback to a more balanced attack with Stull and wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin as the centerpieces. .

But when it comes to Oct. 16th's game between the Rutgers football team and Pittsburgh, one thing's for sure – it won't be like last year. .

That game, perhaps the most memorable of the Scarlet Knights' 2008 campaign, ended with an RU win in a 54-34 shootout. Mike Teel threw for six touchdowns on the RU side and McCoy ran for three touchdowns and 146 yards on the Pitt side. .

Now they're both gone, so fans can expect a much more defensive oriented game between the two. Whoever wins the Rutgers quarterback battle should be developing some sort of groove by then, but not enough of one to blow up for 54 points for the second straight year. And there's no way Stull has forgotten what it felt like to go up against a Rutgers defense that left him injured for two weeks after he faced them last year. .

The key for the Scarlet Knights will be to put as much pressure as possible on Stull and force him to make mistakes without a safety blanket like McCoy to turn to. The Rutgers offense will also have to find a way to put points on the board without Teel and Kenny Britt making so much noise on deep routes. Don't forget, Tim Brown pulled in 132 yards and two touchdowns against Pitt last year and Kordell Young had two touchdowns and 83 yards of his own. .

So just because there's no Mike Teel or Kenny Britt doesn't mean that the Rutgers offense cannot repeat what it did last year in the second win of a seven-game winnings streak.

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