Several players could realistically be chosen as our Panther of the Game from Pitt's win on Saturday against Virginia. Jordan Whitehead, who will eventually win one of these things, led the team with 12 tackles and he's just missing that splash play to tip the scales in his favor. Also having solid games for Pitt were Avonte Maddox, Matt Galambos, Mike Caprara (who filled in for Nic Grigsby, who was hurt on the first defensive play of the game), Chris James, and even Ryan Winslow.
Outshining them all, however, in the 26-19 win yesterday, was quarterback Nathan Peterman.
Simply put, Peterman is starting to play well for the team. It wasn't just the stats that helped the junior take home this week's award. He was cool under pressure, made timely throws, and even could have had a bigger day, if it wasn't for, what I would term, a very questionable holding call. The Tennessee transfer connected on an efficient 17 of 24 passes for 222 yards. Among those 17 completions were two that went for touchdowns. Peterman also finished with zero interceptions. He did have the odd turnover that somehow ended up in Virginia's hands for a defensive touchdown, but overall, played well.
One of the impressive things that the signal caller gave to Pitt was a little bit of diversity in yesterday's game. Dontez Ford, Scott Orndoff, JP Holtz, and of course, Tyler Boyd all had multiple catches on the day. Ford finished with three catches for over 60 yards giving the Panthers at least the threat of having a second receiver to Boyd. Peterman would have had another touchdown pass if Jester Weah would not have dropped a sure thing in the end zone, making Pitt settle for a field goal.
The Florida native also chipped in five yards on six carries. Why am I mentioning that? Because it could have been so much more and very well may have put the Panthers on the road to a blowout win yesterday. With the Panthers up by 13 in the fourth quarter, Peterman kept a read option and rumbled down deep inside Virginia territory, which would have put Pitt into tremendous position late in the game. Unfortunately, a questionable holding call negated the play and helped keep this game closer than it maybe should have been.
If you look at all those facts and throw in Peterman handling some iffy snaps from center Artie Rowell, it makes sense to give him the nod here.