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Pitt football notebook: Chryst uses previously suspended players against Cincinnati

| Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, 10:49 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt running back Rushel Shell gets his first carry as a Panther against Cincinnati on Sept. 6, 2012, at Nippert Stadium.
Cincinnati's Ralph Abernathy scores a touchdown in front of Pitt's Jarred Holley during the first quarter Sept. 6, 2012, at Nippert Stadium. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Cincinnati running back Ralph David Abernathy IV spins out of a tackle attempt by Pitt's T.J. Clemmings in the second quarter at Nippert Stadium Sept. 6, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review

CINCINNATI — Pitt coach Paul Chryst lifted the suspension on six players, but more importantly, he immediately put two of them to work against Cincinnati on Thursday night.

Freshman Rushel Shell was the first reserve running back into the game, entering on Pitt's third offensive series ahead of sophomore Isaac Bennett. Shell carried four times for 25 yards (12, 6, minus-1 and 8) in that series that resulted in a punt. He carried eight times through the third quarter for 31 yards.

• On defense, junior nose tackle Tyrone Ezell was in the starting lineup, but his presence had no effect early in the game. Cincinnati scored on two of its first five offensive snaps and had a 14-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.

• Two other previously suspended players — wide receiver Ronald Jones and defensive end Shayne Hale — were in uniform but were not given prominent roles. Jones entered in the second quarter but finished the game with no catches. He dropped a pass in the third quarter.

• Sophomore safety Anthony Gonzalez and freshman wide receiver Chris Davis also are no longer on suspension, but they were not part of Pitt's traveling party.

• Redshirt sophomore defensive end T.J. Clemmings started after missing the Youngstown State game with an injury, but he whiffed on a tackle attempt onRalph David Abernathy IV that would have resulted in a loss of 10 yards in the first quarter. Abernathy reversed direction and gained 13 yards.

• Pitt officials erected a large TV screen outside the Petersen Events Center for students to watch the game, which was televised by ESPN. It was the second time for such an event on the Pitt campus (Utah, 2010).

• Other than middle linebacker Greg Blair of Schenley, the only Cincinnati player with Western Pennsylvania roots is freshman wide receiver Shakim Alonzo of Woodland Hills. He is not listed on the Bearcats' three-man depth chart. The only other Pennsylvania player is sophomore running back Jameel Poteat of Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg. Poteat committed to Pitt in 2010 before former coach Dave Wannstedt was fired.

—Jerry DiPaola

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