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Pittsburgh-Utah Preview Capsule
Line: Utah by 3.
Series Record: Utah leads 1-0.
Last meeting: 2005 Fiesta Bowl, Utah 35-7.
What’s at Stake
Utah has won its last 17 home games and needs No. 18 on Thursday to avoid an early knockout in the fight for an at-large BCS berth. Pittsburgh is trying to hang on to its highest preseason ranking since the Panthers were No. 10 entering the 2003 season.
Utah’s defensive line vs. Pitt’s offense. The Utes have more depth on the defensive front than anywhere else entering the season. Pitt has three new offensive linemen and a new quarterback in Tino Sunseri.
Players to Watch
Pittsburgh: RB Dion Lewis, whose 1,799 yards rushing last season were the second-most in school history. Only Tony Dorsett ran for more in a season at Pittsburgh, gaining 2,150 yards when he won the Heisman Trophy in 1976. The Panthers will rely on Lewis to offset inexperience up front and at quarterback.
Utah: QB Jordan Wynn took over the starting job midway through his freshman season, but is locked in at No. 1 for the Utes entering his sophomore year. Wynn completed 58 percent of his passes and threw for 1,329 yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions in six games.
Facts & Figures
Although Kyle Whittingham was co-head coach with Urban Meyer when the Utes capped an unbeaten 2004 season by beating the Panthers in the Fiesta Bowl, the game is officially the first coaching victory of Whittingham’s career. … Utah is 7-0 against members of the Big East. … Pitt is 3-2 in season openers under coach Dave Wannstedt. … The Panthers last opened the season on the road in 1993, when they beat Southern Mississippi 14-10.
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