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Pitt Preparing for Syracuse Offense with New Passing Threat



PITTSBURGH — In the last three meetings between Pitt and Syracuse, the Panthers have outscored the Orange 147-125.

These are two programs that aren’t necessarily known for their high powered offenses. But when they have met in recent years, both offenses have taken control of the games.

This year, with Eric Dungey’s departure, Syracuse has a new quarterback in charge. Redshirt sophomore Tommy Devito is the new commander in head coach Dino Baber’s offense.

After six weeks of this season, Devito leads the ACC with 1,534 passing yards. He has thrown 12 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Pitt’s senior captain and starting cornerback, Dane Jackson, has played in all three of the high-scoring meetings with Syracuse and is aware of the new additions that they have added to this years offensive group.

“They are a lot more explosive,” Jackson said. “They like to take a lot more shots. They have some good receivers on the outside and good receivers on the inside.”

On Friday, Jackson will more than likely be matched up with Trishton Jackson, who is one of those ‘good receivers’ on the outside for Syracuse. Jackson leads the Orange with six touchdowns and 499 receiving yards.

“He presents a lot (to their offense),” Jackson said of the opposing Trishton Jackson. “He’s just an all-around good player”

Dane Jackson will be without his running mate back in Pitt’s secondary in the first-half of the game. Panther safety, Paris Ford will have to stay in Pitt’s locker room until after the break because of his ejection in their win against Duke. Jackson isn’t that worried about other guys stepping in for Ford’s absence.

“We got other guys that can step up,” Jackson said. “Jazzee Stocker and Bricen Garner, will be filling in that role and will still allow us to play fast.

Jackson knows that when Ford does come back that he will be amped up and be even more eager to make impactful plays for their unit.

“It’s going to be crazy,” Jackson said. “He’s been itching (to get back out there), just because he’s been held off a little bit in practice. … But I know he’ll be ready.

Syracuse has been trying to get the ball out of Devito’s hand as quick as possible this year. Their offensive line has had some ups and downs throughout their first six games. Last week against N.C. State, Devito was sacked eight times in their 16-10 loss.

Pitt defensive linemen, Patrick Jones II, knows that the Orange will probably be focusing in on limiting Pitt’s pass rush because of their struggles last week in doing so.

“We just have to stick to our game plan,” Jones II said. “We’ll be ready to make adjustments, if needed.”

Jones II was the star of Pitt’s defense in their win Week 5 win at Duke. He had two sacks and two forced fumbles, which awarded him the honors of being named ACC Defensive Linemen of the Week.

Jones II isn’t content with his performances in past weeks and frankly doesn’t pay much attention to them, once the week is over with.

“Now, I just look forward,” Jones II said. “It doesn’t really matter what I did last week — You have to do it again this week.”

Pitt has done a solid job looking forward to the next week. With three straight wins, they will try to keep in rolling on Friday and look to really put themselves as a front-runner for the ACC Coastal title.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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