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July 12, 2013
The countdown to the start of the 2013 season is under way, as Pitt is 52 days away from its Labor Day opener against Florida State at Heinz Field. Panther-Lair.com is counting down the days until the biggest season opener in recent memory.
Today's number is 52, so we're looking at one of Pitt's great underrated running backs.
In the 40-year span between Marshall Goldberg and Tony Dorsett, there was Billy Reynolds.
Reynolds doesn't appear on Pitt's list of all-time leading rushers, but he truly is the link between Pitt's two greatest rushers, Goldberg and Dorsett. Reynolds' team-leading 748 rushing yards in 1952 stands as the high-water mark between Goldberg's 886 yards in 1936 and Dorsett's 1,686 in 1973.
A native of St. Mary's, West Virginia, Reynolds shocked the recruiting world - or what existed of it in the late 1940's - when he chose the Panthers over the Mountaineers for college, a decision, teammates would later say, was influenced greatly by the success of Goldberg at Pitt.
Reynolds was a two-way star at Pitt, leading the Panthers in interceptions and receiving in 1950, his first active season. He was Pitt's leading receiver again in 1952 and also led the team in rushing.
Reynolds was selected in the second round of the 1953 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns, who use the No. 23 overall pick in the draft to take him. He contributed to the Browns offense but functioned primarily as a kick and punt returner during his three years in Cleveland (split up by a year in the Air Force). Reynolds joined the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1958, spent 1959 in the Canadian Football League, and played one final season with the Oakland Raiders before retiring.
Pitt won a total of 10 games in Reynolds' three active seasons (1-8 in 1950, 3-7 in 1951, and 6-3 in 1952), but his historical positioning between Goldberg and Dorsett makes him a relevant piece of Pitt's past.
Previous entries in the Countdown
Countdown: 53 - The legacy of Henry Ford
Countdown: 54 - A "Corny" mid-century quarterback
Countdown: 55 - Pitt makes history
Countdown: 56 - Panthers in the Super Bowl
Countdown: 57 - A unique scoring title
Countdown: 58 - Another Dorsett record
Countdown: 59 - The rare 59-point game
Countdown: 60 - A record that won't be broken
Countdown: 61 - Pitt's longest-running rivalry
Countdown: 62 - The last touchdown against Penn State
Countdown: 63 - The No Bowl Panthers
Countdown: 64 - The most passes in a game
Countdown: 65 - The other 13-9
Countdown: 66 - A local star
Countdown: 67 - One-win seasons
Countdown: 68 - The most prolific receiving game
Countdown: 69 - One of the biggest plays in Pitt history
Countodwn: 70 - The origin of Pitt's nine championships
Countdown: 71 - A good player in a bad era
Countdown: 72 - An All-American who became a dentist
Countdown: 73 - May Day
Countdown: 74 - A "groundwork" season
Countdown: 75 - A successful DL-to-OL move
Countdown: 76 - The 1976 national championship
Countdown: 77 - The last three-sport athletes
Countdown: 78 - An underrated pro
Countdown: 79 - One of the best
Countdown: 80 - The greatest non-championship team in Pitt history
Countdown: 81 - A crushing end to a great season
Countdown: 82 - The dawn of the Foge Era
Countdown: 83 - The most accurate kicker in Pitt history
Countdown: 84 - Pitt in the Pro Bowl
Countdown: 85 - A play that will never be matched
Countdown: 86 - A long but unfulfilled play
Countdown: 87 - The final year of Ironhead
Countdown: 88 - Pitt's All-American tradition
Countdown: 89 - Iron Mike
Countdown: 90 - The four 9-0's
Countdown: 91 - The two longest plays in Pitt history
Countdown: 92 - The senior year of the most productive QB in Pitt history
Countdown: 93 - The only 9-3 season in Pitt history
Countdown: 94 - The statistical oddity of 1994
Countdown: 95 - A relentless player and his dominant season
Countdown: 96 - The biggest win in Pitt history
Countdown: 97 - A dominant current Panther
Countdown: 98 - A transition year
Countdown: 99 - Hugh Green
Countdown: 100 - A look at Pitt in 1913