IrishEyes examines the Panthers' key defensive personnel for Saturday's matchup under the lights.
Romeus Finalist For Ted Hendricks Award
"That's a great thing,'' Romeus said. "If you would have asked me three years ago, I never would have thought that would be possible. But, I guess, that's what happens when you work hard and when the team is playing great.
"Then, awards like this go along with winning. (But) I just saw that he was 6-7 and from Florida. He's from Hialeah. That's probably 20 minutes away (from the Romeus family).''
The winner will be announced on Dec. 9. For more information on the award and the Ted Hendricks Foundation, go to www.TedHendricks.com.
Romeus is the second Pittsburgh player to be named a finalist for a national award. Last week, senior tight end Dorin Dickerson was named one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end.
The 6-foot-6, 270-pound Romeus is having an outstanding season for Pitt's nationally ranked defensive unit, compiling 38 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks. One of the country's most disruptive defensive linemen, Romeus also has two forced fumbles, an interception, a fumble recovery and a blocked conversion attempt. He had several blocks last season as well.
Romeus' eight sacks pace a Pitt defensive unit that leads the nation in that category. The Panthers have 42 sacks overall, which is their highest total since 1988. He also has 10.5 total tackles behind the line, while Pitt has 85 stops for negative yardage overall.
Pitt (9-2, 5-1 Big East) is ranked as high as No. 14 this week heading into the regular-season finale at Heinz Field against the undefeated and fifth-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats (11-0, 6-0). The game, a noon national ABC telecast, will decide the 2009 Big East championship and the league's BCS bowl entrant.
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