PITTSBURGH—Pitt sophomore running back Ray Graham has been named the Big East Offensive Player of the Week, while senior placekicker/punter Dan Hutchins earned the league’s Special Teams Player of the Week award, it was announced today. Graham and Hutchins had starring roles in the Panthers’ 44-17 demolition of FIU this past weekend.
Making the first start of his career, Graham (Elizabeth, N.J./Elizabeth) had one of the greatest performances by a running back in Pitt history — and arguably the finest by any college running back in 2010. Graham rushed for 277 yards on 29 carries, averaging 9.6 yards per rush against FIU. He scored three touchdowns, including runs of 34, 79 and 19 yards.
Graham’s rushing yardage was the second highest in school history, trailing only Tony Dorsett’s legendary 303-yard performance against Notre Dame in 1975. Graham totaled 374 all-purpose yards (78 yards on two kick returns and 19 yards on three receptions), matching Dorsett’s total against Notre Dame in the ‘75 affair (303 rush yards plus 71 receiving).
Graham’s rushing and all-purpose yardage totals against FIU are the most by a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) player this year. After missing the opening game at Utah due to injury, Graham has achieved three consecutive 100-yard rushing games. He has 492 on the season and is averaging 164.0 rush yards per game to rank first in the Big East and third nationally. He also leads the nation in all-purpose yards (236.33 avg.).
Hutchins (Williamsport, Pa./Loyalsock Township) accounted for a career-high 14 points against FIU. He was a perfect 8 of 8 on placements, converting 3-of-3 field goals (30, 38 and 38 yards) and each of his five extra-point attempts. Hutchins’ lone punt of the day was a perfectly executed “coffin corner kick” – a 38-yard boot that went out at the FIU 2.
Hutchins is establishing himself as a frontrunner for Big East Special Teams Player of the Year as he leads the conference in punting (46.1 avg.), kick scoring (8.8 points/game), field goals (2.00 field goals/game), field goal percentage (72.7%, 8 of 11) and PAT kicking percentage (tied, 100%, 11 of 11). Nationally, Hutchins ranks fourth (tied) in field goals per game and eighth in punting average.
Pitt (2-2) will play at Notre Dame (2-3) this Saturday, Oct. 9. The Panthers have defeated the Irish in each of the past two seasons. In its last visit to South Bend, Pitt outlasted Notre Dame, 36-33, in quadruple overtime, marking the longest game in each school’s history.
The game will kick off at 3:30 p.m., and be nationally televised by NBC (WPXI-TV, channel 11, in Pittsburgh).