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October 18, 2010

Hutchins gets second POW honor

Pitt redshirt senior punter Dan Hutchins has been the Panthers' most consistent player this season, and on Monday he was the first Pitt player to receive multiple Big East honors in 2010, as the conference named Hutchins Special Teams Player of the Week.

Hutchins was previously recognized by the Big East after scoring 14 points - three field goals and five PAT's - against Florida International two weeks ago.

In Pitt's 45-14 win over Syracuse on Saturday, Hutchins averaged a remarkable 50 yards per punt on five attempts. Four of the five punts covered longer than 50 yards, and he dropped two punts inside the 20.

That performance continued Hutchins' impressive showing this season. In six games, he has averaged more than 44 yards per punt five times. The Syracuse game was the second time he has averaged at least 50 yards per punt, and against New Hampshire he averaged a booming 52.7 yards per punt.

His only "short average" game was against Florida International. In that game, Hutchins averaged 38 yards per punt, but he only punted once and the kick was perfectly executed, as he dropped a coffin corner punt at the FIU 2-yard line.

Hutchins is currently third nationally in punting (47.08 yards per punt) and 16th in field goals (1.67 field goals/game). In the Big East, he is No. 1 in punting average, field goals per game, field goal percentage (tied, 71.4%, 10 of 14), PAT kicking percentage (tied, 100%, 19 of 19) and kick scoring (tied, 8.2 points/game).

In addition to his punting against Syracuse, Hutchins was also perfect on seven placement attempts. He connected on all six of his PAT's and also made a 24-yard field goal.

Sophomore running back Ray Graham is the only other Pitt player to be named Big East Player of the Week this season. He received the honor after rushing for 277 yards against Florida International.

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