The Pittsburgh Panthers will be without their best player in running back Ray Graham when they take on the Mississippi Rebels in today’s BBVA Compass Bowl, as Sam Werner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that Graham has been ruled out for today’s clash.
The star back injured his hamstring about a month ago during the Panthers bowl practices, and that means Graham’s two-touchdown performance against the USF Bulls will be remembered as his final game with the team. He has had to overcome several severe injuries during his time at Pitt, and Graham could have been one of the top running backs in the country if he was fully healthy. Marcus Lattimore is the most high-profile back to sustain serious injuries, but Graham has also dealt with some crippling injuries of his own.
He will finish his career with Pittsburgh as the school’s second-leading rusher with 3,721 yards, which is more than Philadelphia Eagles backs LeSean McCoy and Dion Lewis. In fact, not even Craig Hayward has as many all-time rushing yards with Pitt. Only the legendary Tony Dorsett has had more rushing yards in a Pitt uniform, and that’s just further testament to Graham’s ability as a player.
Rushel Shell is a more than capable backup, however, and he will lead the charge for Pitt. The Big East already took down an SEC team in a bowl game (Louisville over Florida), so we’ll see if Pitt can do the same today against Ole Miss. Obviously, the stakes are lower, just don’t tell that to either of these two teams.
Werner adds that tight end Drew Carswell and linebacker Shane Gordon have also been ruled out for today’s game.
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