The comparison between Pitt's Tino Sunseri and WVU's Geno Smith is close in one regard: completion percentage. Smith is completing 64.5 percent, while Sunseri is hitting 63.7. Otherwise, Smith is clearly superior -- in pass efficiency rating (151.5-125.3), in interceptions thrown (5-8), in passing yards (3,497-2,037), passing touchdowns (24-9) and average passing yards per game (349.7-203.7).
This was no contest when Pitt's Ray Graham was healthy. He entered the Connecticut game as the nation's No. 2 rusher before suffering a right knee injury. Now it's more interesting. Zach Brown, a 5-10, 220-pound senior, and freshman Isaac Bennett, 5-11, 190, are splitting the duties for the Panthers. Ditto WVU via Dustin Garrison, Shawne Alston and Andrew Buie.
Pitt's Devin Street, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound sophomore, has emerged as a playmaker, necessary to the team since Cam Saddler was injured and lost for the season. Street had six catches for 101 yards, his third 100-yard receiving game this season, against Louisville. Mike Shanahan, 6-5, is also a threat. But West Virginia's unit of Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and Ivan McCartney is better.
This set up as a split decision. Pittsburgh's offensive line, led by 6-4, 295-pound left tackle Greg Gaskins, is pushing for more average rushing yards than WVU (158-117). But the Mountaineers, led by center Joe Madsen, were allowing fewer sacks on average (2.1-4.4). Pitt's line, though, pushed for 200 yards versus a tough Louisville front. WVU's front pushed for 32 and allowed five sacks versus Cincy.
West Virginia defensive tackle Julian Miller, 6-4, 259 pounds, had one of his best games against Cincinnati and he was rewarded by being named the Big East's Defensive player of the Week. But Pitt, led by 6-5, 285-pound tackle Chas Alecxih, has the better defensive front. The Panthers are faring better against the run (122.6-135.9 average yards) and are sacking the QB more consistently.