Utah Utes football notebook: Chris Kemoeatu, Stevenson Sylvester welcome Utah to Pittsburgh

Published: Saturday, Oct. 15 2011 6:00 p.m. MDT

Utah's Karl Williams (38) and Quade Chappuis (19) knock the ball from Pitt kick returner Buddy Jackson (21) in a 26-14 Ute victory on Saturday.     (Associated Press) Utah's Karl Williams (38) and Quade Chappuis (19) knock the ball from Pitt kick returner Buddy Jackson (21) in a 26-14 Ute victory on Saturday. (Associated Press)

PITTSBURGH — Shortly after the Utah Utes arrived here Thursday night, they were greeted by a couple of Pittsburgh Steelers.

Former Utes Chris Kemoeatu and Stevenson Sylvester stopped by the team hotel, met the guys and visited for a long time.

"I haven't been around the guys in a while, especially before a game. So this is great to see everybody," Sylvester said. "Everybody is excited and it's good to see the coaches and everything."

He admitted, however, it's been kind of weird seeing the Utes in Pittsburgh.

"They don't get to the East Coast too much," Sylvester said. "So it's really good to see them."

Although the Steelers host Jacksonville Sunday, Sylvester and Kemoeatu were able to be on the Utah sideline for the game.

"Luckily our schedule really worked around that," Sylvester said.

Kemoeatu, a starting guard, is in his seventh season with the Steelers. Sylvester, a linebacker, is a second-year pro.

FIGHTIN' UTES: After picking up his first career victory as Utah's starter, quarterback Jon Hays explained why the Utes didn't quit after Pitt took a 14-3 lead on a pair of special teams touchdowns.

"The first quarter was tough to swallow but we have a team full of fighters and that's what we do. The offense scored when they needed to and we had a big interception for a touchdown by the defense," Hays said. "The mentality of this team is to keep fighting, to scrap and claw for every point we get or we don't get. We were down in the beginning but we knew we had to keep going."

INJURY UPDATE: Whittingham said the news is not good for fullback/tight end Dallin Rogers, who had one reception in the game. The junior suffered a knee injury and is likely lost for the season. Receiving leader DeVonte Christopher did not make the trip because of an ankle injury. Safeties Keith McGill (shoulder) and Michael Walker (illness), plus running back Tauni Vakapuna (ankle) also stayed home.

PITT IS IT: The Panthers received some good news Friday night when local prep star Rushel Shell, who is considered one of the top running backs in the nation, chose them over Alabama. He announced his decision on ESPNU. Shell is from Hopewell High School, where ex-Pitt standout and Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett played.

EXTRA POINTS: Utah is now 9-0 against teams currently in the Big East Conference, including a 3-0 mark against Pitt. ... Scouts from the Steelers, St. Louis Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars were in attendance, as were representatives of the Holiday and Florida Citrus bowls. ... The attendance was 43,719.

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