Pitt's Saddler suspended for regular-season finale
TAMPA, Fla. — Fifth-year wide receiver Cam Saddler did not travel with the Panthers to Saturday's game against South Florida at Raymond James Stadium after he was suspended by coach Paul Chryst for disciplinary reasons.
Saddler, a graduate of Gateway High School, has been Pitt's top punt returner this season, averaging 7.4 yards on 17 returns with a long of 31. He also is Pitt's fourth-leading receiver with 16 catches for a career-high 229 yards and one touchdown.
Sophomore Ronald Jones, who had returned only one punt for 18 yards this season, replaced Saddler on special teams. Jones was Pitt's leading punt returner last season, averaging 6.6 yards on 14 returns.
Asked after the 27-3 victory against South Florida if Saddler would play in the bowl game, coach Paul Chryst said: “We'll see.”
Milestone for Hendricks
Safety Jason Hendricks' fifth interception of the season set up a touchdown in the first quarter and marked the most thefts by a Pitt player since 2010, when Jarred Holley and Dom DeCicco also had five.
Shawn Robinson had six in 2000, and the school record of 10 was set by South Park's Bob Jury in 1976.
Getting their kicks
Matt Yoklic recorded a career-high 62-yard punt in the second quarter that was downed by backup running back Isaac Bennett on the 2. It was the first of two consecutive Yoklic punts downed at the 2.
Kicker Kevin Harper kicked two field goals in the first half, giving him six in seven tries since his critical miss in overtime Nov. 3 helped keep Notre Dame undefeated and on track for the national championship game.
Aside from covering kicks, Bennett had his first carries in four games, gaining 15 yards on two attempts in the first half.
Former Pitt defensive back Steve Williams had a simple assault charge reduced to summary harassment, with time served, at a hearing Thursday in Pittsburgh Municipal Court. Williams, who has been dismissed from the team, was arrested after a confrontation with his girlfriend in Oakland.
One for the books
Ronald Jones recorded the longest punt return by a Pitt player in four years (a career-high 39 yards) in the third quarter.
No one was injured when a Pitt bus carrying broadcast and equipment staff members hit a gate and police barricade in front of Raymond James Stadium. The bus had minimal damage that included a broken window. No players were on the bus.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7997.