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April 11, 2009

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The Pitt football team concluded spring drills with the annual Blue-Gold Game this afternoon at Heinz Field. Utilizing a modified scoring system, the Blue (defense) defeated the Gold (offense), 54-23.

"I thought that in today's game, there weren't a lot of surprises," said fifth-year Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt, who watched from the press box while providing color analysis for the game's WPCW telecast. "We wanted to go out there and keep it pretty basic and see what we have. Something that was really encouraging to me was the development of our younger players. Obviously, our young guys are going to be with us for awhile, and it was great to see them improving.

"It was hard to evaluate all of our quarterbacks because of the lack of time to practice. The quarterbacks transitioned well with our new offensive coordinator, Frank Cignetti. They all worked hard. Today we didn't want to do anything specific. All of the quarterbacks got in reps, but they were under a lot of pressure all day. They didn't have a lot of time to throw."

Prior to the game, Wannstedt announced the winners of the Ed Conway Award, annually presented to the most improved players of the spring. This year's recipients were junior quarterback Pat Bostick and sophomore linebacker Max Gruder.

Pitt also presented its freshman Academic Award, which was shared this year by wide receiver Mike Shanahan and linebacker Joe Trebitz.

The Gold were led by senior quarterback Bill Stull, who finished the day 12-of-17 for 132 yards and a 54-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Jonathan Baldwin. Baldwin concluded the game with five receptions for 75 yards and a TD on the day.

Bostick finished 4-of-10 passing for 31 yards and an interception, while redshirt freshman Tino Sunseri was 5-of-15 for 38 yards and one pick.

Freshman running back Dion Lewis led the Gold with 12 rushes for 34 yards and redshirt freshman Chris Burns finished with 11 attempts for 13 yards.

Senior linebacker Steve Dell led all defenders with six tackles on the day, while Gruder had five stops. Sophomore defensive end Brandon Lindsey had two sacks for losses totaling nine yards. Redshirt freshman safety Marco Pecora ran back an interception 25 yards.

Pitt returns 14 starters and 51 lettermen from last year's bowl team. The Panthers are already receiving advance praise as one of the country's Top 25 teams for the 2009 season, including a No. 22 rating by and No. 25 by

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