Brandon Lindsey moved back to the Panther back position at linebacker, to allow Aaron Donald to come in and start at defensive end. The alignment also resembled more of a 4-3 at times, allowing Lindsey to come up with a big tackle for loss on a third down and another sack on third down later in the game.
Kevin Harper kicked three field goals, of 52, 24 and 42 before missing a possible 50-yarder, which could have tied the game for Pitt. Harper's 52-yard field goal was a new collegiate record at Heinz Field.
Even though there were a number of things that could have prevented it even being a 26-23 game at the point of Harper's potential game-tier, Harper took the last field goal attempt very personal.
Tino Sunseri put Pitt up with a 4-yard touchdown run in the first half, then threw a 4-yarder to Hubie Graham to give Pitt a 10-point lead.
Things seemed to be going along fine until a fumble by Sunseri led to one Cincinnati touchdown, followed by an interception that led to another. Sunseri did some things well--like running the ball. At other times, he coughed the ball up at crucial points of the game. After the game, he talked about how the offense should have played better, and this team is too far into a season to place blame on a team adjusting to a new system.
Ronald Jones is a player we might see more of with the season-ending injury to Ray Graham. Give the coaching staff credit for implementing him in some 'Wildcat' options, as well as Jones throwing the ball. Interestingly--despite him running the ball twice, and catching three passes--Jones was taken off his punt return duties.
Andrew Taglianetti made his second start in place of the injured Jason Hendricks, and came away with a big pass breakup in the end zone on a third down that helped hold Cincinnati to a field goal.
Despite the loss, Pitt's pass defense did produce two interceptions--the defense's first turnovers produced since the Rutgers game. They also held Collaros without a passing touchdown.
Devin Street stepped his game up with 8 catches for 118 yards, and a 19-yard run on a reverse. Not to mention, a lot of his catches sparked Pitt drives--including a 20-yard reception he had to get into Cincinnati territory on the final drive.
However, he and quarterback Tino Sunseri had a miscommunication on a 4th-and-6 play, where Pitt chose to go for it instead of try a field goal.
Zach Brown took over in place of Ray Graham tonight. While we didn't see the heavy number of carries the way Graham carried the ball, Brown still had his fair share of plays. He ran 10 times for 54 yards, and finished with six catches for 38 yards. Afterwards, he talked about the importance of getting multiple players involved--not just a heavy dose of him carrying the football.
Max Gruder led Pitt with 11 tackles, and played with a cast on his left hand. Gruder admitted playing with a broken hand after the game, but says he will play through the pain. He talked a little about what's most important to him, with as little as three regular season games left in his career.