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Pitt OL Nix still question mark for Cincinnati |

Pitt OL Nix still question mark for Cincinnati

| Friday, November 4, 2011 12:00 a.m

Pitt senior right guard Lucas Nix remains a game-time decision for Saturday’s game against No. 23 Cincinnati. Nix, who has missed the past three games with a left knee injury, returned to practice this week.

“We’re hopeful that he will (play),” coach Todd Graham said Thursday. “He has practiced, he’s had limited reps. We’ll just see.”

The Panthers are without right guard Matt Rotheram, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury against Connecticut last week. Sophomore Cory King, who started four games at left guard for Chris Jacobson (knee), is behind Nix on the depth chart.

> > Freshman receiver Ronald Jones, who has done a little bit of everything this season, is about to get even busier. The loss of receiver Cameron Saddler (sternum) for the season will push Jones, a former standout high school quarterback in Florida, into more duty. Jones has thrown two touchdown passes, rushed four times for 36 yards and ranks second in the Big East in punt returns (7.0 yards per return). On top of being the Wildcat quarterback, he will take some of Saddler’s snaps at receiver and become the full-time punt returner.

“He’s going to have to play more snaps,” Graham said. “His role will increase.”

• Pitt senior Zach Brown, who will start in place of the injured Ray Graham (knee), drew praise from Cincinnati coach Butch Jones this week. Brown carried 12 times for 30 yards and caught nine passes for 84 more after replacing Graham in the first quarter of Pitt’s 35-20 victory over Connecticut.

“Zach Brown is as good as any running back in our conference,” Jones said. “When (Graham) went down early in the UConn game, they put a lot on Zach’s plate, and he responded.”

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