The Turning Point: Voytik's bootleg

Chad Voytik turned the game for good for the Panthers - Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Chad Voytik's legs provided the difference on Pitt's last drive

With the constant back and forth, I had several key plays marked during this game. When Pitt seemed to put a strangle-hold on their thrilling win over Bowling Green last night in the first half, I looked at James Conner's attitude after a long run in the first quarter. When Aaron Donald took an awful personal foul call late in the first half to give Bowling Green life, that was the big winner for a long while. When Tom Savage went out, Chad Voytik unleashed a brilliant 62-yard pass to Tyler Boyd to set up a go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, Pitt's defense decided to use that moment to break down and give up a long game-tying drive by the Falcons to wipe out that moment. Then it happened.

Pitt took over with just five minutes left in the game and the score tied up at 27 at their own 28-yard line. The Panthers were running well with James Conner and Tyler Boyd was giving them a deep threat. Still, after a three-yard run by Conner to put the ball at their own 31-yard line, the perfect call was made: a bootleg. With James Conner destroying the Falcons up the middle, the fake to Conner sprung Voytik up the left side for a 19-yard gain and give Pitt a first-down near midfield with time winding down in the fourth. From there, it added another dimension that Bowling Green had to contend with from Pitt's offense: a QB with legs. This opened them up enough for the Panthers to get in field goal range and let Chris Blewitt give Pitt the win.

There has been a steady and growing portion of Pitt's fan base that has been calling for Voytik this season. I was not one of them. While knowing he was talented, I felt that Savage gave Pitt the best chance to win. Despite this feeling, I also knew the pedigree of Voytik coming out of high school and admit that I was eager to see what he could do. The offense was a little vanilla with him in the second half until they took the shackles off of the Cleveland, TN native and let him start making plays. This led to building confidence in him and to the turning point of the game to give Pitt a nice win.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author @BrunoPittsburgh

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