Panthers take on Ohio to open 2002 season

A preview of the matchup between Pitt and Ohio on Saturday.

Pitt opens the 2002 season against the Ohio Bobcats at Heinz Field, starting at 7 p.m. Saturday night. Hopefully the Panthers have learned a lesson after taking South Florida lightly last year and suffering a huge upset loss that took them half the season to recover from.

Pitt returns 7 starters on offense and 7 starters on defense, plus punter Andy Lee. Panther fans will get their first look at QB Rod Rutherford in a starting role. Other players that will be in starting roles for the first time include: wide receivers Rosie Bynes or Larry Fitzgerald, running back Brandon Miree, safeties Tez Morris and Tyrone Gilliard, and Vince Crochunis at defensive tackle.

The Bobcats return 6 starters on offense and 3 starters on defense. They run a triple-option offense that features the running game. Senior QB Dontrell Jackson, senior RB Chad Brinker and senior FB Joe Sherrill will lead the ground attack. Defensively, Ohio needs to improve against the run and they also gave up the big play through the air last season. They play a 3-4 base defense that very few college teams play. Last season they finished with a 1-10 record, but they did only lose to #23 Toledo and Iowa St by only a touchdown. They also out-rushed WVU and were only losing 14-7 to NC State in the fourth quarter of their game last season.

Hopefully the Panthers won't be looking ahead a week to Texas A&M, or they could be in trouble.

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