Stull excited over shot at Notre Dame
• Quarterback Bill Stull was disappointed when he missed last year's four-overtime, 36-33 win at Notre Dame. So, he's thrilled to have his shot this season. "Personally, I'm happy to have a chance to play against them," said Stull, a Manning Award semifinalist who leads the Big East in passing efficiency (161.61). "It's always going to be a big game. It's going to be a packed house. Everyone is going to be there, and it's going to be an exciting atmosphere."
• Coach Dave Wannstedt said the Pitt-Notre Dame game isn't as big as it was when he played for the Panthers in the early 1970s. "It was nothing like playing West Virginia and Penn State, and I think it's because of the familiarity of the players," he said.
• Wannstedt said he won't change a thing in preparing the Panthers for Notre Dame, in part because change would be a distraction. "We're not approaching this game any different than last week's game or South Florida," he said. "The mistake you make getting ready for these games and the quickest way to get defeated is to get distracted. The excitement of playing before a full house on national TV, if you starting thinking about that Tuesday and Wednesday, it's a distraction. The thing we need to do is practice good ... Saturday will get here soon enough."
• Guard Joe Thomas understands that Notre Dame will be pumped for Saturday night's nationally televised game. Not only are the Irish coming off a 23-21 upset loss to Navy, but they remember vividly their four-overtime defeat to Pitt last season. They'll be coming in looking for revenge," Thomas said. "We got our revenge last year on their home field. Now, they'll be coming here looking to do the same thing, so we have to be ready. They're going to be firing off the football."
• Syracuse managed to hold flanker Jonathan Baldwin to one reception, but the Orange was toasted by tight end Dorin Dickerson, who had seven catches for 118 yards and one TD. "If teams are going to focus on one guy, another guy is going to be open," Stull said. "Hence, No. 2 (Dickerson). That day was Dorin's day, but the game before (South Florida), it was JB. If you take away one person, we have other weapons we can utilize."
• Notre Dame prides itself on making big plays, particularly with wideouts Golden Tate and Michael Floyd. "They have a lot of weapons," Pitt cornerback Aaron Berry said. "We have to mix up our coverages and try to get in their faces and press them more. They make plays even if (quarterback Jimmy) Clausen doesn't put the ball on the money."