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Pitt vs. UConn: Panthers face Huskies in Friday night Big East matchup

Jonathan Daniel

Pitt's football team faces an important matchup on Friday when they take on the UConn Huskies on the road. The Huskies aren't a great team, but there are plenty of reasons Pitt shouldn't be taking this game lightly.

For starters, the Panthers desperately need this game to make their bowl eligibility status a bit more secure. Pitt needs two more wins in its three games and one of those is against ranked Rutgers. Theoretically, the Panthers can lose this contest and still get into a bowl game, but things would be much easier if they won on Friday.

Pitt is also playing on a short week. And having traveled to Notre Dame, the Panthers will have had even less time to rest. The Huskies also on a short amount of rest having traveled to South Florida last week, so it's not as if Pitt will be at a complete disadvantage. But the game against the Irish had to be at least a bit emotionally draining and getting up for another game on short rest after an extremely tough loss is probably a bit difficult.

UConn also may not be as bad as its record indicates. The Huskies are only 3-6, but four of their six losses have been by a touchdown or less. UConn also gave then-undefeated Rutgers a good game, trailing only 6-3 at the half before falling 19-3.

UConn's offense has been abysmal, ranking near the bottom of the entire country. But on defense, they're a threat to do some damage. The Huskies rank 21st in the nation in scoring defense, giving up fewer than 19 points a game. If the game against Pitt turns into a defense struggle, it could be difficult for the Panthers to pull out a win.

And if you needed another reason to have some concern for this game, it's that it's being played on a Friday night. The crowd will surely be a bit rowdy and the last time the Panthers played on a weekday night, things didn't go so well, as they fell to Syracuse, 14-13.

If Pitt shows up and plays as hard as it did against Notre Dame last weekend, it should win the game. But that's no guarantee and, for that reason, Pitt could find itself in a tougher game than expected this weekend.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.