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Pitt routs South Florida 27-3 for bowl eligibility

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Pitt routs South Florida 27-3 for bowl eligibility

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Ray Graham rushed for a pair of touchdowns and went over 1,000 yards Saturday night to help Pittsburgh become bowl eligible with a 27-3 rout of struggling South Florida.

Tino Sunseri threw for 211 yards and one TD for the Panthers (6-6, 3-4 Big East) to join Graham in giving Pitt a 3,000-yard passer and 1,000-yard rusher in the same season for the first time in school history.

USF (3-9, 1-6) finished its second straight losing season by losing nine of 10 following a 2-0 start, a slide that could cost coach Skip Holtz his job. A year ago, the Bulls dropped seven of eight following a 4-0 start that vaulted them into the Top 25 before a 44-17 loss to Pitt.

Graham scored on a pair of 1-yard runs, Sunseri tossed a 2-yard TD pass to J.P. Holtz, and a Pitt defense that's allowed just nine points the past two weeks held USF 117 yards and forced four turnovers, including three interceptions of Matt Floyd in the redshirt freshman's second career start.

Pitt bounced back from losing its first two games to Youngstown State and Cincinnati to qualify for a postseason berth for the fifth straight season. Along the way, the Panthers gave top-ranked Notre Dame its toughest test before losing in triple overtime. They also rebounded from a disappointing loss to Connecticut to upset Rutgers 21-6 and put themselves in a position to extend their first season under coach Paul Chryst.

Despite forcing turnovers on the Bulls' first three possessions of the game, Pitt only led 13-0 at the half. Jason Hendricks' interception and 10-yard return to the USF 21 set up Graham's TD and a sack-fumble led to Kevin Harper's 25-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

USF failed to take advantage of Marcus Shaw's long kickoff return to the Pitt 48 when Floyd was intercepted for the second time after moving his team to third-and-goal at the Panthers 5. Linebacker Todd Thomas broke on a throw intended for Demetris Murray and returned the pick 33 yards up the left sideline.

Sunseri extended his streak of consecutive passing attempts without an interception to 270. However, Pitt failed to establish much of a rhythm on offense before getting in the end zone twice within a five-minute stretch of the third quarter. Graham's second TD put the Panthers up by 20, and Sunseri's 19th TD pass of the season made it 27-0.

USF fell to 16-21 under Holtz, who led the Bulls to an 8-5 record and their sixth consecutive bowl trip two years ago. He inherited a program built from scratch with expectations of contending for Big East titles, but has gone 5-16 in the conference.

An announced crowd of 35,141 that appeared much smaller booed when USF's career scoring leader Maikon Bonani trotted onto the field to kick a 25-yard field goal to avert a shutout.

Sunseri finished 19 of 25 and boosted his season passing total to 3,103. Graham gained 94 yards on 26 carries, topping 1,000 rushing for the first time in his career early in the second half and ending the night with 1,042.

Pitt beat USF for the fifth straight season and has won the past two contests by a combined score of 71-20 - 51-3 over the past six quarters of those meetings.

Floyd completed 12 of 25 passes for 93 yards. The Bulls were held to 8 yards rushing.

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

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Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

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Twitter/City of Las Vegas

Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

The Washington Capitals official #ALLCAPS hashtag started in 2017 during a Caps-Penguins game after the Pittsburgh Penguins' official Twitter account decided to tweet in all lowercase letters during the game. 

Now, as the Caps look to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final ahead of Game 1 Monday, Vegas has followed suit by changing their iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign to include only lowercase letters, a jab at the Capitals #ALLCAPS.

Additionally, the City's official Twitter account has changed their handle to "the city of las vegas" without any capital letters and the hashtag #nocaps.

It will be interesting to see how the Capitals' official Twitter will respond...

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