American Football Database
American Football Database
2011 Pittsburgh Panthers football
BBVA Compass Bowl, Loss, 6–28, SMU Mustangs
Conference Big East
2011 record 6–7 (4–3 Big East)
Head coach Todd Graham (1st year)
Keith Patterson (interim)
Offensive scheme Multiple no huddle[1]
Defensive coordinator Keith Patterson (1st year)
Base defense Attacking 3–4[1]
Home stadium Heinz Field
(Capacity: 65,050)
« 2010 2012 »
2011 Big East football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
#17 West Virginia §   5 2         10 3  
#25 Cincinnati §   5 2         10 3  
Louisville §   5 2         7 6  
Rutgers   4 3         9 4  
Pittsburgh   4 3         6 7  
Connecticut   3 4         5 7  
South Florida   1 6         5 7  
Syracuse   1 6         5 7  
† – BCS representative as champion
§ – Conference co-champions
As of January 11, 2012 • Rankings from AP Poll

The 2011 Pittsburgh Panthers football team represents the University of Pittsburgh in the 2011 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Panthers were led through the regular season by first year head coach Todd Graham and played eight home games at Heinz Field. Defensive coordinator Keith Patterson was named interim coach for the season-ending bowl game after Graham resigned in favor of a head coaching position at Arizona State. They are a member of the Big East Conference.

Previous season

In 2010, the Panthers finished 8–5 overall and 5–2 in the Big East to win a share of the Big East Championship with Connecticut and West Virginia and won the BBVA Compass Bowl against the Kentucky Wildcats. After the December 5 game against Cincinnati, head coach Dave Wannstedt resigned under pressure.[2] On December 16, the University of Pittsburgh hired then Miami (Ohio) head coach Michael Haywood.[3] Just 16 days later, on January 1, Haywood was fired by Pittsburgh after being charged with felony domestic violence.[4] On January 10, Pitt hired Tulsa head coach Todd Graham.[5]

Spring game

Pitt concluded its spring practices under new coach Todd Graham and showcased its new offensive and defensive schemes to the public for the first time in its annual Blue-Gold game on April 16, 2011 at Heinz Field. Despite cold and rainy weather, the offense completed 81 passes and threw for 498 yards. The Blue team, which was composed of first-team players, ran 100 plays in two hours en route to a 48–13 victory over the Gold team which was composed of reserve players.[6] The opening kickoff was returned returned 87 yard for a touchdown by defensive back Buddy Jackson. Quarterback Tino Sunseri completed 35 of 55 passes for 416 yards and two scores while having one interception and a fumble. Linebacker Carl Fleming had a game-high 12 tackles and two sacks and the defense forced five total turnovers.[7] Kevin Harper completed a 52-yard field goal. The Ed Conway Award, which is give to the most improved players of the spring, went to Buddy Jackson, Anthony Gonzalez, and Tyrone Ezell.[8]



Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
Sat. Sep. 3* 6:00 p.m. Buffalo Heinz FieldPittsburgh, PA ESPN3 W 35–16   48,359
Sat. Sep. 10* 1:00 p.m. Maine Heinz Field • Pittsburgh, PA ESPN3 W 35–29   41,230
Sat. Sep. 17* 12:00 p.m. at Iowa Kinnick StadiumIowa City, IA ESPN2 L 27–31   70,585
Sat. Sep. 24* 12:00 p.m. Notre Dame Heinz Field • Pittsburgh, PA ABC L 12–15   65,050
Thu. Sep. 29 8:00 p.m. #14 South Florida Heinz Field • Pittsburgh, PA ESPN W 44–17   40,025[10]
Sat. Oct. 8 3:30 p.m. at Rutgers High Point Solutions StadiumPiscataway, NJ ESPNU L 10–34   46,079
Sat. Oct. 15*† 12:00 p.m. Utah Heinz Field • Pittsburgh, PA ESPNU L 14–26   43,719[11]
Wed. Oct. 26 8:00 p.m. Connecticut Heinz Field • Pittsburgh, PA ESPN W 35–20   40,219[12]
Sat. Nov. 5 7:00 p.m. #22 Cincinnati Heinz Field • Pittsburgh, PA (River City Rivalry) ESPNU L 23–26   49,362[13]
Sat. Nov. 12 12:00 p.m. at Louisville Papa John's Cardinal StadiumLouisville, KY ESPN+ W 21–14   51,321
Fri. Nov. 25 7:00 p.m. at West Virginia Mountaineer FieldMorgantown, WV (Backyard Brawl) ESPN L 20–21   60,932[14]
Sat. Dec. 3 12:00 p.m. Syracuse Heinz Field • Pittsburgh, PA ESPN2 W 33–20   40,058
Sat. Jan. 7* 1:00 p.m. vs. SMU Legion FieldBirmingham, AL (BBVA Compass Bowl) ESPN L 6–28   29,726
*Non-Conference Game. Homecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll released prior to game. All times are in Eastern Time.

Coaching staff

2011 Pittsburgh Panthers football staff
Coaching Staff
  • Todd Graham - Head Coach
  • Paul Randolph - Executive Associate Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line
  • Calvin Magee - Assistant Head Coach/Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs
  • Michael Norvell - Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers/Director of Recruiting
  • Keith Patterson - Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
  • Tony Gibson - Pass Defense Coordinator/Secondary
  • Tony Dews - Tight Ends/Recruting Coordinator
  • Todd Dodge - Quarterbacks
  • Spencer Leftwich - Offensive Line
  • Randall McCray - Outside Linebackers/Special Teams
  Support Staff
  • Blair Philbrick - Assistant Athletic Director/Football Operations
  • Bob Junko - Director of Football Relations and Program Enhancement
  • Bo Graham - Head Graduate Assistant/Assistant Receivers Coach
  • Matt Caponi - Defensive Graduate Assistant
  Strength and Conditioning Staff
  • Shawn Griswold - Director of Strength and Conditioning
  • Trevor Dieleman - Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • Travis Pelletier - Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach


Following the conclusion of the regular season, coaches Tony Dews, Tony Gibson, and Calvin Magee left to take positions with Rich Rodriguez's staff at Arizona and did not coach in the BBVA Compass Bowl.[16]

Team players drafted into in the NFL

Player Position Round Pick NFL Club
No Players Selected



Less than one year from his hiring, on the evening of December 13, Graham informed Athletic Director Steve Pederson that he had discussed coaching opportunity at Arizona State.[18] After being informed he did not have permission to talk to the school about the job and refusing conversations with Pederson and another administrator, Graham resigned the next morning to accept the head coaching job at Arizona State University.[19] Graham informed his Pitt players of his departure by having text message forwarded to the team by director of football operations Blair Philbrick.[20] Keith Patterson was named as the interim head coach for the BBVA Compass Bowl.[21]

On December 22, 2011, Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst was introduced as the next permanent head coach to take over the Panthers following the BBVA Compass Bowl.[22]


  • Sophomore defensive lineman Aaron Donald was named a second team All-American by[23]
  • Ray Graham, despite missing the final four games of the season with an injury, and Jarred Holley received first-team All-Big East recognition. Chas Alecxih, Aaron Donald, Max Gruder, and Antwuan Reed received second team honors.[24]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "2011 Pitt Panthers Spring Football Prospectus" (Press release). 2011 Spring. p. 2. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  2. "Dave Wannstedt resigns at Pitt". ESPN College Football. ESPN. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
  3. "Pittsburgh hires Michael Haywood". Associated Press. ESPN. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
  4. "Pitt fires new coach Mike Haywood". Associated Press. ESPN. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
  5. "Todd Graham to take over at Pittsburgh". Associated Press. ESPN. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
  6. DiPaola, Jerry (April 17, 2011). "Pitt's offense still work in progress". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  7. Bennett, Brian (April 18, 2011). "Pittsburgh spring game review". ESPN. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  8. Zeise, Paul (April 17, 2011). "Pitt concludes spring drills with Blue-Gold game". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA). Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  10. "South Florida Bulls vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Box Score". ESPN. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
  11. "Utah Utes vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Box Score". ESPN. October 15, 2011.
  12. "Connecticut Huskies vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Box Score". ESPN. October 27, 2011.
  13. "Cincinnati vs PITT (11/5/11)". November 5, 2011. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  14. "Pittsburgh Panthers vs. West Virginia Mountaineers – Box Score". ESPN. November 25, 2011. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
  16. Zeise, Paul (December 4, 2011). "Pitt Football: Three assistants leave program". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA). Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  18. "Keith Patterson Named Interim Coach for Pitt Football". December 14, 2011. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
  19. Zeiss, Paul (December 15, 2011). "Graham leaves Pitt for Arizona St.". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  20. "Todd Graham to coach Sun Devils". ESPN. December 14, 2011. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
  21. Rossi, Rob (December 15, 2011). "Graham deserts Pitt for job at Arizona State". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  22. Zeise, Paul (December 23, 2011). "Pitt's new football coach Chryst prefers doing to talking". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh). Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  23. "Aaron Donald Named Second Team All-American". December 8, 2011. Retrieved December 8, 2011.
  24. "League Honors Six Pitt Players on All-Big East Team". December 8, 2011. Retrieved December 8, 2011.