Pitt lineman Jacobson's influence is still felt
Pitt senior left guard Chris Jacobson will have season-ending knee surgery, possibly as early as Monday, but his influence will continue to be felt by teammates.
Especially his replacement, redshirt sophomore Cory King.
"He has been on me all week," King said after the 15-12 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday. "He said, 'Hey, we're watching film. Get in here.' He has taken me under his wing, making sure I am ready.
"I have to definitely step it up and play the best I can for these seniors. I have to fill some big shoes."
Losing Jacobson hurts on the field, with the Panthers tied with Akron for last in the nation in sacks allowed (19). But it also hurts the team's emotional state. Teammates unanimously voted Jacobson a co-captain.
"People look to him for that leadership," King said.
Coach Todd Graham is hopeful the NCAA will allow Jacobson, a senior, to return for a sixth season in 2012. He suffered another season-ending knee injury during training camp of his freshman season in 2007.
Pitt used all four players who started training camp at quarterback — but two at different positions.
Mark Myers punted once for 46 yards, and Anthony Gonzalez played H-back but did not make a catch. Trey Anderson appeared briefly in the second quarter and was 0-2 before being tackled on a failed two-point conversion try in the third.
Quarterback Tino Sunseri has attempted six pooch punts this season, dropping one at the 2-yard line against Notre Dame. It occurred in the second quarter in a fourth-and-4 situation from the Irish 35.
Graham defended the decision because of where Notre Dame started its drive, but Pitt never got the ball back before halftime.
Andrew Taglianetti nearly blocked a punt in the first quarter but was penalized for running into punter Ben Turk.
Taglianetti said he never made contact with Turk.
"He might have stepped on me when he landed," he said.
The play didn't impact the score, but Notre Dame recorded two more first downs before punting again.
Sunseri accepted blame for Pitt's five false start penalties.
"I need to speak up louder," he said. "They need to hear my voice."
This 'n that
Running back Ray Graham fell to eighth in the nation (127 rushing yards per game) after getting 89 against Notre Dame. Pitt is 115th in pass defense, allowing 306.2 ypg. ... Receivers Josh Brinson and Darius Patton recorded their first career catches, but regulars Devin Street and Hubie Graham combined for only three for 24 yards and a touchdown. ... Pitt had a season-high nine penalties for 55 yards; Notre Dame was penalized for 85 yards.
PANTHERS' LOOK AHEAD
Next opponent: South Florida (4-0)
Time and place: 8 p.m., Thursday, Heinz Field
Scouting report: Pitt's defense, ranked 97th nationally among 120 schools (411.8 yards per game), must find a way to stop quarterback B.J. Daniels, who accounted for 332 yards against UTEP on Saturday.