Greetings from Heinz Field. We're just over an hour away from kickoff between Pitt and Notre Dame. The Panthers are trying to break a three-game losing streak to the Irish, and pull out of a recent bad stretch they've been in. These games have always been close, and I wouldn't be surprised to see another tight one tonight. Here are a few pregame notes to get you started...
- Here's a link to my preview story from today's P-G, which discusses how the Panthers have moved on from last year's heartbreaking loss to the Irish, but that disappointment could also serve as some motivation tonight.
- Linebacker Shane Gordon, left tackle Adam Bisnowaty and left guard Cory King are all expected to be available tonight. Ryan Schlieper will likely be the starter at left guard, but King should be available if he's needed. Bisnowaty is expected to start at left tackle again tonight. The only injury of note is linebacker Nicholas Grigsby, who had a strong game against Georgia Tech last week but was injured in practice this week. His status is doubtful tonight.
- Two keys for Pitt tonight: run the ball and keep it close early. The Panthers need to control possession and keep Notre Dame's defense on the field. This Irish defense isn't as good as last year's, and can be beaten. A good running game will go a long way towards making life easier for the Panthers. I also think a big play early to keep them in the game would be key, just in terms of establishing a belief that they can win the game. Last year's big run from Ray Graham on the first play from scrimmage was crucial, and Pitt could use a similar outburst tonight.