New Hampshire Matchups

Some of the tendencies of some of the offensive positions are similar, while some are different. Either way, both teams present some challenges for the other team's defense.

R.J. Toman vs. Tino Sunseri, QB
Wannstedt has repeated this past week, that the Wildcats' offense goes through Toman. This, even though it was running back Dontra Peters who rushed for 197 yards in the opener against Central Connecticut State. Toman is a dual-threat quarterback, with emphasis on the run. Jordan Wynn, who the Panthers faced last week, was also a dual-threat quarterback, with more emphasis on the pass.

How will the Panthers defend him? Will they revert to their schemes against a triple-option, as they did against Navy last year? That seemed to work, as they held the Midshipmen to their lowest rushing output in four years.

There has been a lot of buzz over the improvement Sunseri during the course of the Utah game, and the confidence he has been carrying since then. Despite all that, the New Hampshire game is a big one for Sunseri too. Does he build off the momentum he developed in the Utah game, or does he come out too fired up for his first start at Heinz Field. Either way, we'll get a clearer picture of the quarterback Sunseri will become.

Dontra Peters vs. Dion Lewis
Speaking of first career starts, Peters fared pretty well in his first career start, racking up 197 yards on the ground, to go with two touchdowns. For as record-setting of an offense that New Hampshire has had in recent years, Peters' rushing total was the highest by a Wildcat in nine years.

While Lewis had a quiet game by his standards, he still did carry the ball 25 times. Lewis will hope to get back to the 100-yard plateau. Interestingly, he'll hope to do so even if Ray Graham returns to the lineup as well.

Chris Jeannot vs. Jon Baldwin/Mike Shanahan
A trio of former WPIAL basketball standouts, but the three also competed together on the local AAU circuit.

Jeannot, the Wildcats' leading receiver is going to create an interesting matchup for Pitt's defense. Everything will center on New Hampshire's run game, which Dave Wannstedt says all begins with quarterback R.J. Toman. Since New Hampshire's version of the spread is similar to a triple option, the linebackers will most likely be responsible for the running backs. However, someone is going to have to be responsible for Jeannot, who led the Wildcats last week in receptions--does that responsibility fall to one of the linebackers, or safeties? Either way, Jeannot--at 6-5, 254 pounds--provides a tough matchup.

On the flip side, Pitt has a great size advantage with starting receivers Baldwin and Shanahan. With Sunseri developing more of a rapport with both receivers, as the Utah game wore on, it will be interesting to see how early and how often both receiver get involved, from the get-go. Shanahan is Pitt's leading receiver through the last two games (going back to the Meineke Car Care Bowl last year), catching nine passes for 134 yards.

Terrance Fox vs. Cameron Saddler
Fox was the CAA Special Teams Player of the Week, after returning a kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown, and returning two punts for a total of 42 yards. Though Saddler returned only the opening kickoff last week, for 24 yards, Utah was able to keep it away from him. Pending on how the kickers of both respective teams fare, if both returners are able to field kickoffs, they'll not only give their team good field position, but also put on a display of the importance of having good kick returners.


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