Know your foe Pittsburgh: With Panthers could give Notre Dame problems

There is going to be a somewhat familiar feel for a few Pittsburgh players as they are set to face off against Notre Dame football this weekend.

Why you ask? Well, a few of them were once members of the Irish football team, the most recognizable is quarterback, err tight end Phil Jurkovec, although we most likely won’t see him this weekend except for maybe special teams after he lost the starting job earlier this season. So, we won’t touch on him here anymore.

However, there are others on the Panther team that will be easily recognized by Irish fans. Let’s take a look at which Pittsburgh players could give Notre Dame problems this Saturday afternoon.

Running back C’Bo Flemister


As we saw for four years in South Bend, Flemister was a solid back, but not spectacular. With the depth that Notre Dame has acquired via recruiting, he saw no clear path to playing time and left. Has it worked out for him? The jury is still out, but it does look like Flemister will gain a college career high in yardage this season. He’s Pitts leading rusher and really the only player the Irish defense has to fear.

Defensive back Donovan McMillon


It’s rare to see a defensive back leading a team in tackles, but that is the case with McMillon. He plays fairly close to the box, more of a run stopping threat than in pass defense. I expect that he will be tasked with some run blitzes as he’s a solid tackler.

Linebacker Shane Simon


Another former member of the Irish, Simon (32) has worked his way to meaningful snaps with Pitt. He’s come into his own for the Panthers, a career high in sacks with three and he’s trending to come close to his career high in tackles as well. We know that Simon is a solid player, and he will surely bring the juice to try and help upset his former team.

Defensive lineman Bam Brima

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


First off, Brima (57) makes the all-name team for me, but that isn’t the extent of what he brings to the field. He’s in a three-way tie with Simon as their sack leader, and is a load for linemen at 6-foot, 5-inches and 270-pounds. The Irish offensive line has had some issues with edge rushers, and Brima is the next up for this group to contend with.

Defensive back M.J. Devonshire


The team leader in interceptions with two, both of them coming in their last two games, Devonshire has come into his own during his fifth season. He’s got plenty of experience, so throwing his way won’t be easy. The Irish receivers have been very inconsistent over the last few games, so they will be tested by Devonshire on Saturday.

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Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire