Pitt dismantled Syracuse 30-7 and when that happens, there are a lot of players to choose from for the Panther of the Game. There was Chad Voytik, who had a very solid game all around and some timely scrambles. He's progressing more and more every week, which is something many Pitt fans have wanted to see. Then there was the two-headed monster released in the void left by a James Conner injury - Chris James and Isaac Bennett. They combined for 30 carries for 197 yards in a little more than half the game. When you have that kind of rushing game, you can probably throw players in there like the entire offensive line as well.
You COULD have any one of those guys named Panther of the Game, but we decided to listen to Bethel Park native and Pitt senior Adam Lazenga. After Tyler Boyd took a wide receiver screen pass 49 yards for a touchdown, the cameras for ESPN were right behind the Panther bench and focusing in on Boyd. Lazenga leaned down and gave his best Muhammad Ali impersonation of sorts when he yelled in Boyd's direction: "That's a baaaaaaaaaad boy!" We couldn't agree more Adam.
It wasn't just Boyd's seven catches for 126 yards and one touchdown that gives him the nod. Boyd also drew a big pass interference call on Syracuse early in the game, as well as a facemask, that could have also went for pass interference early on as well. He was simply the best player on the field and it didn't take long to see it when the former Clairton Bear took the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. That was called back due to holding, but that didn't stop Boyd from taking a punt back 29 yards later in the game to set up Pitt in fine field position.
The true sophomore surpassed 1,000 yards for the second consecutive season yesterday, which puts him in the same class as someone you may have heard of before - Panther great Larry Fitzgerald. Until Boyd gained 1,000 yards this season, Fitzgerald was the only Panther to ever put up over a grand in receiving yards in two consecutive years. Something tells me that Boyd may put his name in other categories before it is all said and done.