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Pitt RB Graham poses big challenge

Posted Sep 29, 2011 by Adam Adkins

Updated Sep 28, 2011 at 11:19 PM

The No. 1 goal for USF’s defense is stopping the run, and the Bulls will have their work cut out for them Thursday night at Pittsburgh with Panthers junior Ray Graham.

Graham, who rushed for 922 yards and eight touchdowns last season, enters the game as the Big East’s leading rusher, averaging 127 yards per game.

“That’s going to be a great challenge for our defense,” junior linebacker Mike Lanaris said. “They have a big, physical, really experienced, talented offensive line, and Graham is a really, really great tailback. Obviously we have a great challenge ahead of us so it’s going to be really important to get the work in this week.”

The Bulls rank third in the Big East in rushing defense, allowing just 82 yards per game, but Graham presents their stiffest challenge since the opening week against Notre Dame’s Cierre Wood, who rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.

Graham has averaged 25 carries through the Panthers’ first four games this season, and the Bulls are expecting a heavy dose of him Thursday.

“Going against Graham, you’ve got to make sure you’re ready. He’s a good running back all around, and they’re going to give him the ball throughout the course of the game,” junior linebacker Sam Barrington said. “So you’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do to prepare yourself.”

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