Yesterday didn't start out the way the Panthers wanted, and that included stud running back James Conner. Conner started the game off with two costly fumbles inside the Florida International 10-yard line early in the game to help contribute to Pitt's 16-0 deficit. The big back from Erie, PA bounced back, though, to lead Pitt to a 42-25 win on the road and win our Panther of the Week award.
Despite the uncomfortable start, the sophomore ended the day with 177 yards on the ground, including a 41-yard burst for his third touchdown of the day to put the game out of reach with just over two minutes left in the game. Not only does Conner win for the way he stayed with his running style, but also for a record-setting day for the young back. James passed Tony Dorsett's mark of most yards to start off the first three games of the season.
The second turnover, in particular, was a tough one for him, as he was doing what he so often does in keeping his legs churning no matter what. Unfortunately, it ended up costing him as his forward progress wasn't stopped sufficiently before he lost the ball. Conner then sat for a couple of series but returned to his usual bruising style to run into the record books.
With his numbers as eye-popping as they are right now, Conner is starting to gain some national attention. He will have to step up his game from here on out if he wants his name to continue getting mentions on the national stage. With games coming up against the Big Ten's Iowa and a very tough Virginia team on the horizon, the competition is about to step up.