2010 Pittsburgh Panthers football team
The 2010 Pittsburgh Panthers football team represented the University of Pittsburgh in the 2010 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Panthers were members of the Big East Conference. They were led by the sixth-year head coach Dave Wannstedt and played their home games at Heinz Field. 2010 marked the University's 121st season overall. They finished the season 8–5, 5–2 in Big East play to be champions of the Big East with Connecticut and West Virginia. However, due to loses to both schools, Pitt did not earn the conferences bid to a BCS game. They were invited to the BBVA Compass Bowl where they defeated Kentucky, 27–10. Wannstedt was forced to resign on December 7, 2010.
|2010 Pittsburgh Panthers football|
Big East co-champion
BBVA Compass Bowl champion
|Conference||Big East Conference|
|2010 record||8–5 (5–2 Big East)|
|Head coach||Dave Wannstedt (6th season)|
Phil Bennett (interim)
|Offensive coordinator||Frank Cignetti Jr. (2nd season)|
Brian Angelichio (interim)
|Defensive coordinator||Phil Bennett (3rd season)|
|Home stadium||Heinz Field|
|2010 Big East football standings|
|West Virginia +||5||–||2||9||–||4|
As of January 11, 2011; Rankings from AP Poll
The Panthers finished the 2009 season with an overall record of 10–3, 5–2 in Big East Conference play. Pitt won the Meineke Car Care Bowl 19–17 against North Carolina for its eleventh bowl game victory.
Preseason player honorsEdit
Six Panthers have been named to a combined total of 14 preseason award watch lists:
Senior defensive end Greg Romeus has been named to the Lombardi Award (down linemen), Chuck Bednarik Award (defensive player), Ted Hendricks Award (defensive end), Lott Trophy (defensive player of the year) and Bronko Nagurski Trophy (top defensive player) watch lists.
Senior safety Dom DeCicco has benn named to the Jim Thorpe Award (defensive back) watch list.
Senior kicker Dan Hutchins was named to the Lou Groza Award (top placekicker) watch list.
Junior receiver Jon Baldwin was named to the Maxwell Award (outstanding collegiate football player) and Biletnikoff Award (wide receiver) watch lists.
Sophomore running back Dion Lewis has been named to the Maxwell Award (outstanding collegiate football player), Walter Camp Player of the Year Award and Doak Walker Award (top running back) watch lists.
Preseason Big East Media PollEdit
On August 3, 2010, representatives of the media serving the eight Big East football markets voted Pitt as the favorite to win the 2010 Big East Football Conference championship. The Panthers received 22 of 24 possible first-place votes, and 2 second-place votes.
|September 2||8:30 p.m.||at No. 24 Utah*||No. 15||Versus||L 24–27 OT||45,730|
|September 11||1:00 p.m.||New Hampshire*||ESPN3||W 38–16||50,120|
|September 23||7:30 p.m.||No. 19 Miami (FL)*||ESPN||L 3–31||58,115|
|October 2||3:30 p.m.||FIU*||ESPN3||W 44–17||45,207|
|October 9||3:30 p.m.||at Notre Dame*||NBC||L 17–23||80,795|
|October 16||12:00 p.m.||at Syracuse||Big East Network||W 45–14||40,168|
|October 23||12:00 p.m.||Rutgers||Big East Network||W 41–21||50,425|
|October 30||12:00 p.m.||Louisville||Big East Network||W 20–3||48,562|
|November 11||7:30 p.m.||at Connecticut||ESPN||L 28–30||35,391|
|November 20||12:00 p.m.||at South Florida||ESPN2||W 17–10||43,844|
|November 26||12:00 p.m.||West Virginia||ABC||L 10–35||60,562|
|December 4||12:00 p.m.||at Cincinnati||ESPN||W 28–10||27,496|
|January 8||12:00 p.m.||vs. Kentucky*||ESPN||W 27–10||41,207|
|2010 Pittsburgh Panthers football staff|
||Strength and Conditioning Staff
Team players drafted into the NFLEdit
|Jon Baldwin||Wide Receiver||1||26||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Jabaal Sheard||Defensive Line||2||37||Cleveland Browns|
|Dion Lewis||Running Back||5||149||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Jason Pinkston||Offensive Line||5||150||Cleveland Browns|
|Greg Romeus||Defensive Line||7||226||New Orleans Saints|
Notable Undrafted Players:
Henry Hynoski: regarded as the #1 Fullback. He signed with the Giants shortly after the 2011 NFL lockout ended. Started all 16 games and in the playoffs during his rookie season, which the Giants would go on to win the Super Bowl.
Sports Illustrated ranked Pitt #16 in the annual College Football Preview issue on August 16, 2010.
Rivals.com listed Pitt at #14 in their preseason picks on August 20, 2010.
CBSSports.com ranked Pitt #13 in the preseason rankings of all 120 FBS teams on August 30, 2010.
|Poll||Pre||Wk 1||Wk 2||Wk 3||Wk 4||Wk 5||Wk 6||Wk 7||Wk 8||Wk 9||Wk 10||Wk 11||Wk 12||Wk 13||Wk 14||Final|
- Rankings notes
- A The first Harris Interactive Poll was released after the sixth week of games, and the final version will be released at the conclusion of the regular season but prior to the bowl season.
- B The first BCS Ranking will be released after the seventh week of games, and the final ranking will be released at the conclusion of the regular season but prior to the bowl season.
Sophomore Tino Sunseri made his first career start at quarterback. Pitt trailed 24–13 halfway through the fourth quarter. With 7:11 left, Sunseri completed a 44-yard touchdown pass to Jon Baldwin, and a two-point conversion made it 24–21. Dan Hutchins kicked a 30-yard field goal to tie the game and end regulation. In overtime, Utah won the toss and elected to play defense. On the first play of overtime, Sunseri was intercepted by Utah freshman Brian Blechen. A few plays later Joe Phillips made a 21-yard field goal to give the Utes the 27–24 victory.
Pitt's first home game of the season was against the New Hampshire Wildcats, who at the time of the game were ranked as the #6 team in Division I FCS (I-AA). The Wildcats were able to contain Dion Lewis, who finished the game with 27 yards on 10 carries. However, sophomore Ray Graham had 9 carries for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Tino Sunseri improved in his second career start, completing 24 of 34 passes for 275 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. The receiving touchdowns went to Cameron Saddler for 2 yards and Jon Baldwin for 56; Baldwin led receivers with 6 for 100 yards. Defensive end Greg Romeus sat out his second consecutive game due to injury, in hopes of returning against the Miami Hurricanes on September 23. However, Romeus underwent back surgery to relieve a herniated disc and will miss up to 6 weeks. Pitt improved its record against FCS teams to 9-0.
Miami and Pittsburgh last met in 2003 at Pittsburgh in a game won by Miami 28–14. Pittsburgh is 9–21–1 all time against Miami.
 The Panthers lost this tight conference contest to the Connecticut Huskies 30–28. After UConn's Zach Frazer threw an interception on the first play of the game, the Panthers responded with a 4-yard touchdown run by Dion Lewis. UConn scored on the ensuing drive on a 36-yard pass from Frazer to Kashif Moore to tie the game at 7. Dave Teggart added 2 field goals to give Connecticut a 13–7 lead in the third quarter.
Later in the third quarter, the Panthers were able to get their offense going when Tino Sunseri completed a 42-yard pass to Jon Baldwin. The Panthers scored on the drive with a one-yard run from Lewis. After a Connecticut punt, Pitt extended its lead to 21–13 on a Ray Graham touchdown run. On the ensuing kickoff, UConn's Nick Williams returned the kick 95 yards for a touchdown to make the score 21—20 in favor of the Panthers at the end of the third quarter.
After trading punts to begin the fourth quarter, Connecticut took a 23–21 lead on a 25-yard field goal from Teggart. Then UConn's Robbie Frey recovered a Graham fumble on the following kick-off for UConn. Two plays later, Frazer threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Isiah Moore to extend the Connecticut lead to 30—21. The Panthers scored on their next possession when they went 70 yards in only 1 minute and 50 seconds on a 20-yard touchdown catch by Baldwin. UConn got the ball back at their ten-yard line with 4:29 left in the game and a 2-point lead. With 2:50 left in the game, and the ball on their own 19-yard line, Connecticut faced a fourth down with one yard to gain. Instead of punting the ball back to the Panthers, they handed the ball to Todman, who gained 4 yards and the first down. If UConn had failed to get the first down, the Panthers would have been given the ball within range to kick a go ahead field goal. Todman gained 41 yards on the final drive, and UConn ran the remaining time off the clock to give the Panthers their first conference loss of the season.
In the 103rd edition of the Backyard Brawl, West Virginia defeated the Panthers 35-10 at Heinz Field. The Panthers controlled their own destiny coming into the game, and likely needed to win their last two games to claim the Big East title and BCS bowl berth outright, but West Virginia would defeat Pitt for the second year in a row, giving Pitt a shot at at least a share of the Big East title with a win in their final game of the season against Cincinnati.
In the 10th edition of the River City Rivalry, the Panthers defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats 28-10 at Nippert Stadium. The Panthers were led by sophomore running back Dion Lewis who rushed for a career-high 261 yards against Cincinnati, 6th most in a single game in Pitt history, and 4 touchdowns. With their win over Cincinnati, Pitt won a share of the Big East title along with West Virginia and Connecticut. This title would be Pitt's second and last shared title in the Big East (they never won a Big East Title outright). The Panthers would go on to play in the BBVA Compass Bowl with UConn representing the Big East in its BCS bowl due to UConn's wins over the two other Big East Co-Champions Pitt and West Virginia. This was also the last game for coach Dave Wannstedt who resigned December 7, 2010.
BBVA Compass BowlEdit
On December 7, 2010, Wannstedt resigned as head coach, reportedly under pressure following a disappointing 7-5 regular season and having failed to advance to a BCS bowl during his tenure. Wannstedt accepted a position as special assistant to the athletic director at the university.
Following this, Michael Haywood, the former coach of the Miami University Redhawks, was hired as Pitt's new head coach on December 16, 2010. Haywood was arrested on December 31, 2010 on a charge of domestic battery, which was later upgraded to a felony. Pitt chancellor Mark Nordenberg announced Haywood's firing the next day, on January 1, 2011.
Wannstedt announced on January 3 that he would not coach the bowl game and defensive coordinator Phil Bennett would take over the team on an interim basis for the BBVA Compass Bowl against Kentucky, which Pitt won 27-10.
Controversy also arose when an investigation by Sports Illustrated revealed that the university's 2010 football team had 22 players with criminal records, the most by any team ranked in the magazine's pre-season top 25 rankings. Athletic Director Steve Pederson called the number of incidents "totally unacceptable", stating that the athletic department was "addressing the situation" including having already instituted more intense "background research". Ousted coach Dave Wannstedt defended his past "body of work" but acknowledged "an unfortunate stretch of incidents" the previous summer stating that "every player and each incident was evaluated on an individual basis" and that "we did our due diligence to make sure that we treated each player fair". The Sports Illustrated report received criticism for its lack of context, methodology, and sensationalism.
- Zeise, Paul (February 10, 2010). "Pitt, WVU announce football schedules". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 12, 2010.
- "Pitt Releases 2010 Football Schedule". WTAE-TV. February 10, 2010. Retrieved February 12, 2010.[permanent dead link]
- "Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Utah Utes Box Score". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on September 6, 2010. Retrieved September 7, 2010.
- "New Hampshire Wildcats vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Box Score". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on September 15, 2010. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
- "Miami Hurricanes vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Box Score". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on September 26, 2010. Retrieved September 23, 2010.
- "Florida International Golden Panthers vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Box Score". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on October 5, 2010. Retrieved October 2, 2010.
- "Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Box Score". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
- "Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Box Score". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
- "Louisville Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Box Score". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
- "Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Connecticut Huskies Box Score". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
- "Pittsburgh Panthers vs. South Florida Bulls Box Score". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on November 26, 2010. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
- "West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Box Score". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
- "Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Box Score". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
- "Kentucky Wildcats vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Box Score". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
- "Coaches vote Tide overwhelming No. 1". ESPN.com. August 6, 2010. Archived from the original on August 7, 2010. Retrieved August 6, 2010.
- "Panthers Play at Utah in Huge Season-Opening Game". PittsburghPanthers.com. August 27, 2010. Retrieved September 7, 2010.
- "Your Full 2010 Week 2 College Football Announcing Schedule". AwfulAnnouncing.com. September 9, 2010. Archived from the original on September 13, 2010. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
- "Todman Runs Down Panthers". UConnHuskies.com. November 12, 2010. Archived from the original on November 15, 2010. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
- "West Virginia knocks Pitt out of Big East lead". ESPN. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
- "Dave Wannstedt resigns at Pitt". Associated Press. ESPN.com. December 7, 2010. Retrieved December 16, 2010.
- "Pittsburgh hires Mike Haywood". ESPN.com. December 16, 2010. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
- "Pitt fires new coach Mike Haywood". ESPN.com. January 2, 2011. Retrieved January 2, 2010.
- "Statement from University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg". PittsburghPanthers.com. January 1, 2011. Retrieved January 2, 2010.
- Gorman, Kevin (January 3, 2011). "Wannstedt Will Not Coach Pitt in Compass Bowl". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on January 6, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2011.
- Dohrmann, George, and Benedict, Jeff. "Rap Sheets, Recruits and Repercussions", Sports Illustrated, March 7, 2011, pp. 31-39.
- Zeise, Paul (March 11, 2011). "Pitt Football Gets Top Ranking in Wrong Areas". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, PA. Retrieved March 14, 2011.
- Wawrow, John (March 11, 2011). "Wannstedt Defends Pitt's Past". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved March 14, 2011.
- Hall, Spencer (March 2, 2011). "Hey We Can See The Whole World From Here". Retrieved March 14, 2011.
- Vint, Patrick (March 2, 2011). "CBS and Sports Illustrated Think Your Team Stole Their Wallet". Slow States. Retrieved March 14, 2011.
- Duffy, Tyler (March 2, 2011). "Sports Illustrated is Overstating Claims About College Football Crime". The Big Lead. Archived from the original on April 8, 2011. Retrieved March 14, 2011.
- Jones, David (March 4, 2011). "Commentary: At Least College Football Crime List is Topical". The Patriot-News. Harrisburg, PA. Retrieved March 14, 2011.
- "Sports Illustrated". College Football Examiner. March 11, 2011. Retrieved March 14, 2011.