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Erratic Pitt eager to build off Rutgers rout, nail down 5th straight bowl berth

Playing well hasn't been an issue for Pittsburgh this season.

Doing it in consecutive games? Well, that's another issue entirely.

The Panthers (5-6, 2-4 Big East) kept their bowl hopes alive with a 27-6 rout over Big East-leading Rutgers on Saturday, their second victory over a ranked team this fall and their fourth competitive game against a top-flight opponent.

Building on those performances has been difficult. The Panthers, however, believe they've matured as the season has gone on and understand what it takes to play consistently.

Pitt needs to win on Saturday at struggling South Florida (3-8, 1-5) to advance to a bowl game for a fifth straight season. Senior wide receiver Mike Shanahan said he's OK with any bowl trip, even a third consecutive journey to Birmingham, Ala., for the BBVA Compass Bowl.

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Follow Will Graves at www.twitter.com/WillGravesAP

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