The quality of Pitt’s defensive line was in question ahead of the team’s matchup with Ohio, as proven contributors Rashad Weaver and Keyshon Camp had both been lost for the season due to injuries by the end of Week 1. However, the remaining members of the Pitt defensive line came into Week 2 eager to make an impact, and no one was more successful in that endeavor than Jaylen Twyman.
The 6’2”, 290-pound defensive tackle out of Washington, D.C., amassed four tackles on Saturday, including three sacks. In doing so, he became the first Pitt defensive tackle to record three sacks in a game since Aaron Donald accomplished the feat during a 26-14 loss to Utah on Oct. 15, 2011.
While matching Donald in any facet of the game is an achievement in and of itself, it was likely more meaningful to Twyman than it would have been to most others, as he changed his number from 55 to 97 ahead of the 2019 season in hopes of emulating Donald, who wore 97 at Pitt from 2011 to 2013.
“The reason why I wanted to change my number is the same reason why LeBron [James] wears 23,” Twyman told Adam Schweiger of Pittsburgh Sports Now in March. “[Donald] is a person that I am inspired by and motivated by. So I just thought it was a business decision, and I want a be a great player like him.”
In addition to Twyman, Pitt got important contributions out of defensive linemen Deslin Alexandre, Habakkuk Baldonado and Patrick Jones II on Saturday. Alexandre recorded the second sack of his college career, while Baldonado and Jones were among the team’s most active defenders, with four tackles and one quarterback hurry each.
Now, with what could be Pitt's last matchup with Penn State on the horizon, Twyman and his fellow linemen will look to replicate their aggressive approach and impressive production against one of Pitt's oldest rivals.