Sunseri to face Utah

AP: The No. 15 Panthers begin one of the nation’s toughest nonconference schedules Thursday at Utah, in a stadium where the home team hasn’t lost in three years. They’ll go there with a quarterback who’s never started a major college game. Tino Sunseri, a redshirt sophomore, has thrown all of 17 college passes. He’s never stepped into a stadium knowing that his team’s success that day rested largely on his play. He’s never thrown a touchdown pass that’s won a college game, or thrown an interception that’s lost it. …

Sunseri’s confidence and calmness were praised by teammates even when he struggled at times during preseason camp; in one scrimmage, the Pitt offense ran 100 plays and scored only once.

Maybe it’s his upbringing as the son of Sal Sunseri, a former star linebacker at Pitt who’s now the assistant head coach and linebackers coach at No. 1-ranked Alabama. Or maybe it’s the athleticism he inherited from mom Roxann, a former all-Big East gymnast at Pitt. Or the ability to handle pressure that he showed while leading Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Dan Marino’s alma mater, to an unbeaten season and Pennsylvania state championship in 2007.