Go ahead and snicker - I'll wait. That won't stop me from naming Pitt quarterback Chad Voytik our Panther of the Game in the 24-19 loss to Virginia last night. While many will remember his subpar first half, the fact is that Voytik righted himself after a rough start and had a solid game.
Voytik started the game unsuccessful on his first six pass attempts. He then had a few completions, but had a back breaking interception that Max Valles returned for a touchdown to give Virginia a commanding 24-3 lead going into the half. Voytik was being ripped to shreds everywhere you looked and rightfully so. But while he could have packed it in right there, he did not.
The Pitt quarterback came out in the second half against a very strong Virginia defense, putting together some solid plays to help Pitt claw back into the game. All of this during a time when the Cavaliers were dialing up tons of heat.
Despite the 0-6 start, the redshirt sophomore ended the game with a 16-30 night and 195 yards and two touchdowns - the last of which was a bullet to tight end J.P. Holtz. Was Holtz in? That's debatable, but the ball had some nice zip on it. It should also be noted that Voytik did a lot of damage to the Cavs' defense while under tremendous pressure from the blitz packages Virginia was bringing. There were many times throughout the night that extra defenders came on consecutive plays.
Could the sophomore be starting to figure a few things out? Maybe, maybe not. I'm sure this may not be a popular choice, but then again, not many players had huge nights for Pitt. I threw some barbs at Voytik last season when many called for him to take Tom Savage's place. I had to eat my words when he came in to the bowl game and helped shred Bowling Green. I'm hoping he's ready to do the same the rest of the way this season.