Pittsburgh-Notre Dame Preview Capsule

The Associated Press Published:

Pittsburgh (4-4) at No. 4 Notre Dame (8-0) 3:30 p.m. (NBC)

Line: Notre Dame by 16 1-2.

Series Record: Notre Dame leads 46-20-1

WHAT'S AT STAKE

The Fighting Irish are hoping to keep alive the chance of winning their first national championship since 1988. A win over the Pittsburgh would make Notre Dame 9-0 for the first time since 1993. The Panthers are seeking their biggest upset since beating second-ranked West Virginia 13-9 in 2007 to knock the Mountaineers out of the national championship game.

KEY MATCHUP

Pitt's offensive line vs. Notre Dame's defensive line. Pitt QB Tino Sunseri has completed 71 percent of his passes against the Irish the past two seasons for an average of 216 yards, but he's been sacked eight times. The Panthers are ranked 90th in the nation in sacks allowed at 2.5 a game and are 77th in the nation in run offense. The Irish defense is 23rd in the country in sacks, led by DE Stephon Tuitt with 8.5, and is ninth in the nation against the run.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Pittsburgh: RB Ray Graham appears to be at 100 percent after tearing his ACL last season. He ran for 109 yards against Temple in a 47-17 victory and has rushed for 622 yards and seven touchdowns so far this season. He also ranks second all-time at Pitt with 4,427 career all-purpose yards. He had a career-high eight catches last season against Notre Dame.

Notre Dame: QB Everett Golson is coming off his best game in 30-13 victory against Oklahoma, making smart decisions and completing 13 of 25 passes for 177 yards and rushing for 64 yards on 11 carries. Coach Brian Kelly is looking for Golson to put together back-to-back strong games and get the Irish offense playing at a faster pace.

FACTS & FIGURES

The average margin of victory for the Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium is five points, away from the stadium it is 28 points. ... Pittsburgh has won two of the last three games at Notre Dame Stadium. ... Six of Notre Dame's opponents have scored more than 40 points the week before playing the Irish; none has scored more than 17 against the Irish. Pitt scored 47 points last week against Temple. ... Brian Kelly is 4-1 against the Panthers, winning the last four. None of the games have been decided by more than a touchdown.