PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — A team coming off such a disappointing performance needs leadership from its seniors, and after Pitt was upset by Youngstown State, 31-17, in its 2012 season opener at Heinz Field Saturday night, three of them stressed the importance of learning from this loss entering next week’s conference lid-lifter in Cincinnati.

Quarterback Tino Sunseri, last season a lightning rod for criticism, put forth a decent effort to begin his final year, completing 19 of 30 passes for 239 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown toss to Josh Brinson, without any turnovers or sacks.

“Whenever you’re not able to win a football game, obviously there’s things you feel you could have done better, and that’s how we take our quarterback [play],” Sunseri said afterward. “Whenever you don’t win, you always look back at yourself, and see what you can do differently, and see what changes need to be made. We’re going to learn from it really quick, because we have a quick transition week.”

Check out the rest of his brief post-game remarks:

Defensive back and special teams standout Andrew Taglianetti, typically one of the Panthers’ most approachable and candid team leaders, delivered a more blunt analysis: “That’s not what Pitt is.”

“I think [going forward] we just need to all come out playing,” Taglianetti elaborated after Saturday’s game. “I don’t think we ever really got to the point where everybody was executing the way we can, the way we’re supposed to. It’s the first game of the season, and that’s no excuse, don’t get me wrong, but I really expect this team to bounce back.”

Check out the rest of his comments:

Meanwhile, given the inconsistency of the 2011 offense, given the fact backup tailback Rushel Shell was suspended several hours before kickoff, and given the recent uncertainty of his injured knee, most eyes in the building were on Ray Graham.

Graham seemed to think that knee passed the test after running for 72 yards and being responsible for 14 of Pitt’s 28 total rushing attempts.

“I felt good. It felt great to get out there and run around against a different opponent,” he said after the game. “We talked…Coach Chryst told me to just be real with him, and tell him how I feel, so we had a game plan going in…and the game plan worked very well.”

Check out the rest of what Graham had to say:

Stay tuned to your flagship home for Pitt football, SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan, for all the latest, as the Panthers try to bounce back against the Bearcats this Thursday.

(Follow me on Twitter @mpopchock.)

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