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October 2, 2011
Pitt's Graham named national player of the week
Ray Graham put in a huge performance in the first FBS game of Week Five of the college football season, and it held up all weekend as the strongest showing in the nation.
On Sunday, the Pitt junior was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation's National Offensive Player of the Week.
Graham led the Panthers in their 44-17 victory over No. 14 South Florida on Thursday night with 226 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries (8.7 yards per carry). He added 42 yards on four receptions.
The game was Graham's second 200-yard rushing performance this season and the third of his career at Pitt. He rushed 29 times for 201 yards and three touchdowns in the season opener against Buffalo. He also topped 200 with a 277-yard outing against Florida International last season.
Graham was named Big East Offensive Player of the Week after the Buffalo game this season, and he is the prohibitive favorite to take those honors this week.
Through five games this season, Graham has rushed for 734 yards and eight touchdowns. No Pitt player has rushed for more yards through five games in school history; the previous five-game record was set by Tony Dorsett, who rushed for 717 yards in the first five games of the 1973 season.
In Dorsett's Heisman Trophy-winning season of 1976, he rushed for 665 yards in the first five games (although he finished with 1,948).
Graham's average of 146.8 rushing yards per game currently ranks third nationally, behind only Oregon's LaMichael James (153.3) and Sand Diego State's Ronnie Hillman (151.2). Graham also has 25 receptions for 171 yards, giving him 905 yards of total offense; including his 35 yards on kick return, he has 940 all-purpose yards. Graham's average of 188 all-purpose yards per game ranks seventh nationally.