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Thursday, October 27, 2011
Ray Graham, two others done for season

By Andrea Adelson

Pitt running back Ray Graham is out for the season with a right knee injury, dealing the Panthers a devastating blow as they hit the stretch run of the season.

Graham hurt his knee early on in a victory over Pitt on Wednesday night. Pitt did not say how badly Graham hurt his knee, only that he would undergo surgery.

Graham has been the only consistent player on the Panthers' offense this season. He had two 200-yard games, and leads the team in carries (164), rushing yards (958), rushing touchdowns (nine) and receptions (30). His rushing and receiving yards account for 40 percent of all the yards Pitt has gained on offense this season.

In addition, receiver Cameron Saddler (fractured sternum) and offensive lineman Matt Rotheram (fractured ankle) sustained season-ending injuries against the Huskies.

“We are incredibly disappointed for these three young men,” coach Todd Graham said in a statement. “They have put so much work into our program and it’s heartbreaking to see their seasons end prematurely. Even from the sidelines, I know they are going to remain important leaders who will continue to make an impact as we strive to reach our goal of a Big East championship.

“I know each will attack their rehabilitation programs with incredible commitment and be back better than ever for next season. That’s the type of people and competitors they are and we’re proud that they are Panthers.”

Injuries have hit Pitt particularly hard. Starting offensive lineman Chris Jacobson (knee), starting safety Jason Hendricks (shoulder) and receiver Salath Williams (shoulder) also are out for the season.

With Graham out, Wisconsin transfer Zach Brown emerges as the No. 1 running back. Against UConn, he led the team with nine catches for 84 yards, and had 12 carries for 30 yards and a touchdown.