Pitt was without Devin Street in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl game. Quarterback Tom Savage played, but only for a half. The team's starting running back, Isaac Bennett, was a non-factor with only five carries. Had you told me all of that would happen yesterday, it would have difficult to see a Pitt win. But that's exactly what happened as some offensive players had huge games for the Panthers.
Conner was perhaps the biggest star, playing on offense and defense, racking up 229 yards on the ground a touchdown. Boyd had 173 receiving yards and a punt return for a touchdown. Voytik came in, threw for 108 yards in a half against the nation's fifth-ranked defense, and broke off a couple of nice runs, including a touchdown.
Add it all up and Pitt's offense looks a lot more secure next season.
The offensive line remains the big question mark. Pitt loses a senior on the offensive line in Cory King, but the Panthers have played without him most of the year, anyway. Everyone else returns and all of the young guys, including Dorian Johnson, Adam Bisnowaty, and the 2013 recruits get a year older. Lots of youth and lots of questions, but the group could be better next year. I'm not convinced they'll be great, but with four returnees, things might be okay.
Even throw in the kicker Chris Blewitt and a lot of freshmen played big roles in this game to make you think the unit could be pretty good in 2014.
Granted, Voytik needs more seasoning and it will be interesting to see how he plays against ACC defenses. A second receiver will also need to step up to help take some of the pressure off of Boyd. Pitt loses a lot on offense with Savage and Street moving on, but it's hard not to see potential with this group of guys leading the way.