Deslin Alexandre, a lower-body injury in the second quarter, and Rodney Hammond Jr., a lower-body injury in the fourth quarter, left Thursday night’s game and didn’t return.
Alexandre went down when making an attempt to tackle West Virginia quarterback J.T. Daniels, helped immediately to the locker room. Hammond took a helmet-to-helmet shot that got WVU cornerback Wesley McCormick ejected for targeting, but he came up with a leg injury and was wearing a boot post-game. But according to some encouraging updates, both avoided major injury.
“I’m good,” Hammond told the media following the game. “Ready for next week, another game.”
Hammond was a crucial piece in Pitt’s offense, recording 129 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns as a dual-threat out of the backfield. Alexandre didn’t have as big of an impact, playing less before exiting the contest, but he did bat down a ball and record two quarterback hits.
“Des is doing great,” John Morgan said after the game. “Des is a solider, man. I expect him to be back on Saturday, so if he doesn’t, it’ll be surprising to me.”
Morgan stepped up Thursday night with a handful of splash plays, racking up four tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble. He combined with the defense to secure three sacks and eight tackles for loss.
Alexandre returned to the sideline later in the contest, offering words of encouragement to Morgan as the latter stepped into an increased role along the defensive line. Pat Narduzzi praised Alexandre’s toughness, said that he’ll be fine and will be evaluated further on Monday.
With a 38-31 win over West Virginia in Backyard Brawl, Pitt is 1-0 to open the season, but an even greater test will arrive at Acrisure Stadium next Saturday. And if Pitt is lucky, both Alexandre and Hammond will both suit up in full.