The Hurricanes (8-3, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) won’t only be contending with temperatures approaching the teens on Friday when they play in their regular-season finale at Pittsburgh (6-5, 4-3). They’ll be going against a Panthers defense led by one of the best players in the nation.
Senior defensive tackle Aaron Donald, 6-0 and 285 pounds, leads the nation in tackles-for-loss with 26. He is 11th nationally and leads the ACC with four forced fumbles, is 10th nationally with 10 sacks, has 16 quarterback hurries and a blocked kick.
“What can you say about Aaron Donald?” UM coach Al Golden said. “Just a talented, talented young man. Plays with a great motor. I’m probably doing him an injustice by saying he’s talented, because what he is is skilled. He plays with great pad level, transitions really well, has long arms…
“They move him around” and “he splits double teams very effectively. Just a heck of a football player.”
Linebacker Alex Figueroa (shoulder), cornerback Ladarius Gunter (neck) and defensive lineman Dwayne Hoilett (upper extremity) out for Pittsburgh. Out for the season, as of this week, are cornerbacks Nate Dortch (lower extremity) and Corn Elder (knee).
Golden said Wednesday that it was not “definitive” whether receiver Phillip Dorsett (knee), who has been cleared, will play Friday.