Pitt QB Sunseri faces tougher test vs. Cincinnati
Thanks to a hesitant, unsure defense, quarterback Tino Sunseri wasn't the chief culprit in Pitt's opening-night loss to Youngstown State.
He threw for 239 yards — more than he recorded in all but three games last season — found wide receiver Joshua Brinson for a 35-yard touchdown and didn't throw an interception or get sacked.
But that was against a Youngstown State secondary whose cornerbacks are first-time starters.
Thursday night in the Big East opener, Sunseri must solve Cincinnati's veteran defense that returns seven players, including All-Big East first-team strong safety Drew Frey and outside linebackers Maalik Bomar and Nick Temple.
“They fly around to the football pretty well,” Sunseri said.
With the return to health of senior running back Ray Graham, who's supported by sophomore Isaac Bennett, Sunseri hopes Pitt can present a balanced attack that sets the tone.
“We have to be able to be one of those offenses that can either pass or run and dictate what the defense does,” he said. “A lot people think the defense dictates what the offense does. The offense should be able to dictate what the defense does.”
That hasn't always been the case under Sunseri, who will make his 28th consecutive start Thursday — the longest stretch at Pitt since Tyler Palko's 35 in a row from 2004-06. Pitt is 14-13 since Sunseri became the starter.
Fumbles by Graham and wide receiver Devin Street hurt Pitt's effort in the regular-season opener, but Sunseri admitted the passing game waas far from perfect.
“We felt like there were two or three passes that we should have connected on them,” he said.
Sunseri spent the past few days working on the details of the passing game.
“Just going back and working through the footwork, whether it was me or whether it was the receivers,” he said. “Just going back and making sure we are tidying all the loose ends.”
Note: Four of the six players suspended Saturday were with the team Wednesday when it departed for Cincinnati. Nose tackle Tyrone Ezell, defensive end Shayne Hale, running back Rushel Shell and wide receiver Ronald Jones will be in uniform Thursday. Freshman wide receiver Chris Davis and safety Anthony Gonzalez, both of whom were previously suspended by the university in separate incidents, weren't on the trip.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7997.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt’s Amara offers Vision of hope
- Pitt notebook: Defense shows up in scrimmage
- Pitt baseball enjoying rise in expectations
- Howland: Pederson deserves more credit at Pitt
- Narduzzi set to begin more critical evaluations during Pitt football spring drills
- Pitt adds quarterback recruit from Cincinnati
- Pitt women’s basketball team excited for future