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#12 Days Until Pitt Football: Matt Cavanaugh

Photo used with permission of University of Pittsburgh athletics department -

If you spend any time on Twitter, you no doubt have seen people posting certain Pitt players wearing uniform numbers that correspond with the number of days left until the football season kicks off. Jim did it last year and this year, Pat Narduzzi has been doing it.

I know we have a lot of younger readers here and also some folks that may not have spent their entire lives following Pitt sports. For that reason, I thought it would be cool to not only do the countdown here, but also give a brief writeup on the player to potentially help fans connect a little more with some of the all-time greats.

Quick disclaimer - this isn't necessarily about picking the best player for each number. Not only is that disputable in many instances, but it's not really the point of the exercise. So don't be offended if your favorite player doesn't make the list here. I'll probably mirror Narduzzi's list for the most part but may go off the board in a few instances.

These will also be brief, folks. It's the offseason and we all use this time to wind down a bit. These won't be theses or anything, but we'll cobble together a few facts for each guy.

Finally, feel free to add on to a player's accomplishments in the comments section. Some I'll leave out due to space/time and some I may not even know about. But this will be a good learning exercise for all of us.

Continuing our countdown today is quarterback Matt Cavanaugh.

All due respect to Rod Rutherford, I had to go with Cavanaugh here by a nose. Rod had better statistics, but in a three-year career, Cavanaugh helped Pitt to their last national championship in 1976. Tony Dorsett was the star of that team, but Cavanaugh was the MVP of the bowl game against Georgia to give them their title after a four-touchdown game. In 1977, his final year with the team, Cavanaugh was a First-Team All-American with 1,844 passing yards to go along with 15 touchdowns.

Cavanaugh was drafted in the second round of the 1978 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. In a 14 career, he played as mostly a backup quarterback and went on to Super Bowl wins with the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants. After his playing career, he's served in a variety of coaching capacities since 1992, including the Panthers in 1992 and 1993, and then again in 2005 to 2008.

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