Pitt’s Tino Sunseri takes impressive streak into regular-season finale


It has been an up-and-down career in a Pitt Panthers’ uniform for Tino Sunseri. But despite your opinion on the Panthers’ signal caller, he’s riding a very impressive streak into South Florida Saturday night as Pitt (5-6) fights for bowl eligibility.

One thing coach Paul Chryst hasn’t had to worry about this season is his quarterback turning the football over.

November 24, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Tino Sunseri (12) looks to pass against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Sunseri has thrown only two interceptions all season long and is currently riding a streak of 245 pass attempts without throwing a pick, the longest such streak in the nation.

For Pitt to beat South Florida and become bowl eligible, that streak likely will have to continue.

The Sunseri detractors will point to the fact that in his three years as a starter that he hasn’t improved the way a quarterback should.

He’s not a leader. He has never led Pitt to a big win and not once in three years has he brought the Panthers back to win a game that they have trailed in the fourth quarter. He has cost them more games with repeated mistakes than he has  helped the team win. The Syracuse game this season is a perfect example.

All of that is certainly true, but he’s also improved a great deal as a passer, just from last season.

The biggest thing that sticks out is that he’s taking care of the football. He threw a combined 20 picks his first two years as a starter so he’s made great strides as a senior in that department.

He’s also become more accurate with the football as both his completion percentage (65.8) and quarterback rating (154.6) rank him among the top 30 quarterbacks in the nation.

Sunseri still throws the deep ball as poorly as any quarterback in the country, but he has come a long way in almost every other area.

To beat South Florida, the Panthers will need all of that from their quarterback.

When his career at Pitt comes to a close, Sunseri will statistically be one of the better Panthers quarterbacks of all-time. It would be nice to see him close things out with a pair of wins.

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