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Rafael Araujo-Lopes emerging in Pitt passing game

Pittsburgh v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Coming into the season, Pitt’s top wide receiver was expected to be one of the team’s starters, Jester Weah or Quadree Henderson. But halfway through the year, the Panthers’ best wideout has been Rafael Araujo-Lopes.

Araujo-Lopes isn’t the deep threat that Weah is and he doesn’t have the big-play ability of Henderson. But what he does possess is consistency. Unlike other Pitt receivers, he’s produced all year long.

Araujo-Lopes has caught at least one pass in every game this year and he’s had at least three in every contest except the team’s opener against Youngstown State where Pitt did little in terms of opening up the offense. And as the season’s gone on, he’s only gotten better.

He saved his best game of the year for Saturday in the team’s loss to Syracuse with seven receptions for 100 yards - both led the team and his 100 yards were the most by anyone from either team.

Now, Araujo-Lopes isn’t having a monster season or anything. His 26 catches for 335 yards are pretty pedestrian when it comes to being the leading receiver on a team. But a few nice things about his production is that he’s not only getting better as the season goes along but Pitt still has another year of him being around.

Is Araujo-Lopes better than Weah, who had been seen as the top guy? I don’t know. Weah, has more big play potential, after all, and is a better end zone target. But he’s also had some costly drops this year and had another big one on Saturday against Syracuse. Araujo-Lopes has caught more balls for more yardage and at least seems a little more steady right now.

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