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therock
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Connecticut at Pittsburgh: What bettors need to know

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On 10/26/2011 02:50 AM in NCAA Football
THE STORY: Last season when Connecticut played Pittsburgh the teams had BCS aspirations. This year as the Panthers host the Huskies in a mid-week tilt, they're playing for .500. Both are 3-4 overall and 1-1 in the Big East, sharing victories over South Florida. However, no Big East team appears bulletproof – just ask West Virginia – so the winner here moves right back into league title contention.

TV: ESPN.

LINE MOVES: Pittsburgh opened -10 and the spread has moved to 10.5. The total opened at 41.5 and climbed to 42.5 before coming back down to 41.

WEATHER: Rain is in the forecast for Heinz Field. There is a 65 percent chance of rain with a 100 percent chance in the second half. Game-time temperatures will dip into the low 50s.

ABOUT CONNECTICUT (3-4, 1-1 Big East, 2-5 ATS): The Huskies rebounded well to defeat the Bulls, 16-10, on Oct. 15, after being blitzed for 81 points in back-to-back losses to Western Michigan and West Virginia. As with UConn's other victories, defense was key, forcing four turnovers and stopping South Florida on fourth down late and in Huskies' territory. Their lone touchdown came from the defense, when cornerback Byron Jones returned a fumble for a score. Lyle McCombs continued his impressive freshman campaign, rushing for 130 yards against South Florida to bolster his total to 705 yards to go with four touchdowns.

ABOUT PITTSBURGH (3-4, 1-1 Big East, 2-5 ATS): The Panthers' offense is a mess. Ray Graham is the nation's fifth-leading rusher (939 yards, nine TDs), but he hasn’t been able to make up for the team’s quarterback struggles. Junior Tino Sunseri and freshman Trey Anderson went a pitiful 9-for-29 for 40 yards in Pitt's 26-14 home loss to Utah on Oct. 15, in which the Panthers blew a 14-3 lead. They've produced just two offensive touchdowns in the last nine quarters (both by Graham).

EXTRA POINTS

1. UConn's biggest weapon could be senior kicker Dave Teggart, who's 6-for-7 on field goals the past two games and has four multiple field goal games this year.

2. Another poor Sunseri outing could have Pitt fans chanting for Anderson. Sunseri has seven picks against just five touchdown passes and has been sacked 32 times after Utah dropped him five times.

3. Graham fumbled a kickoff that set up UConn's final score in the Huskies' 30-28 triumph over Pittsburgh last season in East Hartford. UConn leads the series, 4-3.

TRENDS:

* Huskies are 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.
* Underdog is 5-0 ATS in their last five meetings.
* Huskies are 6-1 ATS in their last seven conference games.
* Panthers are 13-5 ATS in their last 18 conference games.

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