CINCINNATI (93-7 THE FAN) — Tailback Ray Graham said he feels himself getting stronger, but fellow senior Tino Sunseri believes Pitt’s offense, as a whole, isn’t as strong as it can be after a humbling 34-10 loss to Cincinnati in last Thursday’s Big East opener for both teams.
“Obviously we didn’t do enough. We didn’t put points on the board, we came up short, and we’ve always got to do better when we don’t win,” Sunseri said after completing 24 of 37 passes for 278 yards, but only managing one TD and letting two deep first-half drives end without points. “We’ve got to take some of the pressure off our defense.”
Pitt had a chance to get back in the game, down 17-0 late in the second quarter with the hurry-up offense doing some damage. But the Panthers, including Sunseri, took too much time to run the final plays of the period, including extra hesitation by the quarterback on an incomplete pass as time expired.
Sunseri said multiple factors messed up that critical scoring chance.
“You have to give credit to Cincinnati. They came out and played that play right, but I’ve got to know, with five seconds left, not to put so much air in it when you’re trying to throw the ball away,” he admitted.
Graham ended Thursday’s game with 103 yards rushing on 19 carries, saying it’s not necessarily about creating quality scoring chances, but about finally capitalizing on them.
“We’re driving, and we’re getting downfield every time,” said Graham, who had a touchdown run nullified by a questionable holding call on offensive lineman Chris Jacobson. “There are small things we need to correct, and we’re going to get it done.”
The backfield play of Graham, Isaac Bennett, and freshman phenom Rushel Shell seemed to be one of the few bright spots in this uninspiring defeat.
Stay tuned to SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan Monday for coverage of head coach Paul Chryst’s weekly press conference, in which we’ll hear more reaction to the loss to the Bearcats, and a preview of Saturday’s home game against future ACC rival Virginia Tech.