Pittsburgh vs. Maine - Saturday, September 10, 2011 - 1:00 p.m. - ESPN3.com
Heinz Field - Pittsburgh, PA
Point Spread: Pittsburgh -31.5
Pittsburgh and Maine both won their first games of the 2011 season. The Panthers defeated Buffalo 35-16 while the Black Bears beat Bryant 28-13. Pittsburgh and Maine have never met on the football field. Maine played Syracuse last year and fell 38-14 to the Orange.
Pittsburgh 1-0 (0-0)
Maine 1-0 (0-0)
The competition level ramps up for Maine this weekend against Pittsburgh. The Panthers' defense should really put the clamps down on the Black Bears' running game, especially running back Pushawn Brown who rushed for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns against Bryant last week. Maine's passing game didn't exactly shine in their opening game, but quarterback Warren Smith has thrown for 5,000+ yards in his career and has some mobility. The Panthers gave up too many passing yards last game but it didn't hurt them in the final scoreline. The Pitt defense should have a chance to work on pass coverage in this game as they should be able to force Maine into third and long plays.
Tino Sunseri's first game in Todd Graham's "high octane" offense wasn't one that was going to knock your socks off. He was more or less efficient passing the ball. The real key to Pittsburgh's big win was that running back Ray Graham tore up the Buffalo defense for 201 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. I don't expect him to go for 200 yards again against Maine because Graham should be on the bench watching other guys before then. I see Pittsburgh winning this game easily and getting most of their points in the first half.
Score Prediction: Pittsburgh 40, Maine 10