Big East Home Opener On ESPN2 Thur.

UConn's Big East Football Conference home opener with the Pittsburgh Panthers is a sellout, the third this season at Rentschler Field. And it will be a telecast nationally. Game time is Thursday, September 30 at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2.

Connecticut (3-1, 0-1) is coming off a decisive 40-3 victory over Army last weekend. Senior QB Dan Orlovsky was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Week as he hit on 25 of his 34 attempts for 288 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. This is the first-ever weekly citation for UConn which is in its first season of Big East play.

Orlovsky's 73.5-percent completion percentage was the 10th best single game mark in school history. Keron Henry caught seven of those passes for 117 yards and two scores. Cornell Brockington led the ground attack with 115 yards on 17 carries with a TD.

Pitt (2-1, 0-0) needed overtime for a 41-38 win over Division I-AA Furman. The Panthers, down 31-17 in the third quarter, forced overtime with three TDs from junior quarterback Tyler Palko who hit 30 of 36 passes (83.3%) for 380 yards. His completion percentage tied for 10th highest in Big East Conference history. Former walk-on Joe DelSardo caught seven tosses for 87 yards and one touchdown. Raymond Kirkley rushed for 108 yards on 26 carries with one TD.

The Pittsburgh game will be the first time that UConn has played under the lights at Rentschler Field. Pittsburgh opens the Big East season with its first-ever game versus Connecticut. The Panthers, who have never played a game in the Constitution State, are 5-2 in Big East openers under Coach Walt Harris.

This is the Panthers' first road trip of the season since their Sept. 7 opener at South Florida was postponed because of Hurricane Frances. Pittsburgh is 12-5 in their last 17 away games.

Comparison

CategoryUConn Stat Rank Pitt Stat Rank
Rushing Offense138.3 72 99.0 103
Passing Offense 293.3 11 219.0 50
Total Offense 431.5 27 318 87
Scoring Offense30.3 38 27.3 52
Rushing Defense 103.5 30 117.3 47
Passing Defense 145.5 12 208.7 65
Total Defense 249.0 10 326.0 43
Scoring Defense 16.0 29 21.7 53

Pittsburgh has scored 7-of-9 times (.778) it has penetrated the 20-yard line (red zone) this year.

Several UConn players are currently amongst the NCAA leaders. Orlovsky ranks 13th in passing, 14th in total offense and 15th in passing efficiency. Henry (30th) and Jason Williams (44th) both rank in the top 50 for most receiving yards per game while Henry (37th), Matt Cutaia (68th) and Williams (93rd) all rank in receptions per game. Brockington is the nation's 63rd leading rusher.

Pitt's Josh Cummings, who has been perfect (10-10 PATs, 4-4 FGs) this season, is 26th in the nation with 1.33 field goals per game. Linebacker Malcolm Postell is 14th with 0.67 interceptions per game while fellow LB J.J. Horne is 28th with 0.83 sacks per contest. Palko is 23rd in passing, 38th in total offense and 65th in passing efficiency.

Here are the injury reports:

Pittsburgh

Connecticut

The Sagarin ratings show Pitt with a 72.42 mark and UConn at 68.31. The home field advantage of 3.41 points makes this a toss-up under this comparision. while AmericasLine.com shows the Huskies as a 7 point favorite.


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