Justin K. Aller
Kevin Harper hasn't had a good year - he'd likely be the first to admit as such.
Entering Saturday's game against Buffalo, the senior was only 6-11 on the year. He hit nearly 68% of his kicks last season and before Saturday, that number dipped to 54%. But Harper turned things around a bit as he hit two in a row in that game against the Bulls. And looking back a bit further, he's actually much closer to last year's average. Over the past four games, he's made six of his last nine kicks - a 67% clip.
Now, before you get too excited, you should know that his second field goal was a mere 22 yards - practically an extra point. The first, though, was a 45-yarder and in the conditions on Saturday, that was a tough kick.
I'm not ready to state that Harper is 'back.' That would be particularly silly since Harper's always been a bit inconsistent. The fact is that as a senior, it's hard to expect much more out of him at this point. He'll make kicks that he shouldn't at times and will flub easier ones as well. His greatest asset is that he's capable of a long-range kick if Pitt should happen to need one. But when it comes down to it. with Pitt's bowl hopes potentially coming down to the wire, Harper might play a part in the Panthers making (or missing) the postseason.