• Friday's Backyard Brawl will serve as the final home game for defensive backs Dan Cafaro, Dom DeCicco and Ricky Gary; receiver Greg Cross; kicker Dan Hutchins; offensive linemen Alex Karabin and Jason Pinkston; and defensive linemen Nate Nix, Greg Romeus, Jabaal Sheard and Tyler Tkach. They want to end their Pitt careers with a Big East title. "Absolutely, we talk about it because the last two years, we came up short," Pinkston said. "We came here to win the championship, and that's what we want to do."
• Dave Wannstedt said Romeus had successful surgery Monday to repair a torn ACL, and the coach hopes the fifth-year senior defensive end recovers enough to be honored during the Senior Day ceremony Friday. Romeus' father, Sadrac, is flying in from Florida on Thursday.
• Offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. absolved sophomore quarterback Tino Sunseri of the blame for his slow start Saturday at South Florida. "I think I played it a little too tight to the vest, didn't get him into a rhythm of completions," Cignetti said.
• Defensive coordinator Phil Bennett drew lots of laughs from his players by simulating cornerback Antwuan Reed's four pass-interference penalties against South Florida in a team meeting. "Antwuan didn't think it was very funny," said Bennett, 54. "I was playing like the cover corner — probably like about my age — and I was covering him like he did. It was funny, I will tell you, one of the lighter moments." But Bennett wasn't kidding when he said the increasing number of pass-interference penalties heavily favors the offense in college football. "It's getting ridiculous," Bennett said.
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