Last Look Back Defense: Pitt

BearcatInsider.com takes a look at UC's defensive performance in their 34-10 opening night win against Pittsburgh.

Defensive Line

One of Cincinnati's strengths on defense is their experience. With seniors Walter Stewart, Dan Giordano and junior Jordan Stepp lining up along the defensive line, you can count on discipline and consistent play from the front four. And it was one of those seniors leading they way for the Bearcats defense. Defensive end Walter Stewart terrorized Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri all game long, to the tune of two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. Senior Dan Giordano chipped in with half a sack of his own to bring their total to three for the game. Add in a forced fumble and recovery and you have a dominate performance from what should be one of the top units on this Cincinnati defense.

BearcatInsider grade: A

Linebackers

One of the biggest, if not the biggest, momentum swinging plays of the game occurred in the second quarter. Pittsburgh was driving, down 14-0, and had the ball in the redzone. Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri dropped back, felt pressure, stepped up and threw the ball into the hands of senior linebacker Greg Blair. That play not only preserved the shut out, but it seemed the take the wind out of Pitt's sails. Both Blair and fellow senior Maalik Bomar led the way for Cincinnati's linebackers, with 10 and seven tackles respectively. Overall, it was a solid performance as they only allowed 137 yards rushing on 42 carries.

BearcatInsider grade: B+

Secondary

If there was one semi-weak spot in UC's armor Thursday night, it may have been the play of the secondary. While Sunseri was harassed all night, when he did have time to throw, he took advantage of it. Sunseri ended the game 24-37 for 278 yards. UC did do a good job of minimizing the big plays in Pitt's passing game, and only allowing the late touchdown. Going forward, they're going to need to be more consistent. You can't rely on the defensive line to harass the quarterback as well as UC did Thursday night. It wasn't a poor performance, but one that needs to improve to help Cincinnati remain in the hunt for a Big East championship.

BearcatInsider grade: C+


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