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Pitt in the Pros

Former Pitt Stars Aaron Donald, Dane Jackson Make Impact on Opening of 2022 NFL Season



The Los Angeles Rams may not have shown up against the Buffalo Bills in the first game of the 2022 NFL season, dropping a 31-10 game at SoFi Stadium in LA, but a couple of former Pitt stars showed up.

Both Aaron Donald and Dane Jackson made early plays for their respective squads Thursday night, putting Pitt back in the national spotlight once again — fresh off the Backyard Brawl win last Thursday and Saturday’s ranked matchup against Tennessee.

Donald came out strong in the first quarter, ripping past Bills’ guard Ryan Bates to haul quarterback Josh Allen to the turf.

However, it was a difficult night for Donald and the entire Rams’ defense. Donald still recorded two tackles (both solo), the sack shown above and a tackle for loss in the loss to the Bills.

The first quarter sack was the 99th of No. 99’s career, and in the midst of his ninth NFL season, it’s clear Donald has no plans on beginning to slow down. With 443 tackles (287 solo), 151 tackles for loss, 99 sacks, 23 forced fumbles and 16 pass breakups, his illustrious career continues.

And Donald wasn’t the only former Pitt star to make his impact felt at SoFi Stadium. Jackson, who like Donald is a Pittsburgh native, emerged as a reliable cornerback for the Bills last season and proved his worth Thursday night.

Jackson was the first of three Bills’ defenders to pick off Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, reading Stafford’s eyes the whole way to intercept a pass intended for tight end Tyler Higbee. However, it wasn’t just the interception that stood out.

Jackson recorded five tackles (four solo), but thanks to Mike Clay, Jackson’s larger body of work is clear. According to Next Gen Stats, Jackson lined up against Rams wide receiver Allen Robinson on just under half his snaps and helped hold Robinson to just one catch for 12 yards.

After making six starts — playing in all 17 games — last season, Jackson recorded 41 tackles (33 solo) and six pass breakups. In his first start of 2022, he made an impact against the defending Super Bowl champions.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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1 year ago

Foge smi)ing on the Cornell-pitt grad

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