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Pitt vs. Notre Dame: Panthers gearing up for huge matchup

The Pitt Panthers just want to win when they face an undefeated Notre Dame squad this Saturday, and aren't getting fazed by their opponent's perfect season.

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

The Pitt Panthers can put a spark into a subpar season and spoil the national title hopes of one of the best teams in the country when they face No. 3 Notre Dame in South Bend Saturday.

Pitt might only be .500, but they've turned things around in 2012 after opening the season with a loss to FCS Youngstown State and a blowout against Cincinnati, winning four of the last six games, and losing to Syracuse by only a point. Meanwhile, Notre Dame has been a juggernaut -- it is 8-0, with three wins against ranked opponents. Paul Chryst said that this matchup is just about getting a win, not about ruining Notre Dame's season:

"It’s not about knocking them off to ruin their season," Chryst said. "It’s an opportunity to go play a great team and to win for us. It has nothing to do with being a spoiler. Every week you want to go win, and this week is no different.

Tino Sunseri has quietly become an impressive quarterback for Pitt -- he's completed 70 percent or more of his passes in three of his last four games, most recently going 20-for-28 for 321 yards, three touchdowns and no picks against Temple -- but the Fighting Irish boast the No. 2 scoring defense in the country, led by a rare Heisman hopeful at linebacker in Manti Te'o. They're supposed to manhandle a Pitt offense that has often looked stagnant in its first year under Chryst, but the Panthers will hope for a shocker.

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