This was not an easy one. So many Pitt Panthers had great games in yesterday's smashing of Duke. Tyler Boyd was, well, Tyler Boyd. Qadree Ollison ran for over 100 yards again and Nate Peterman was his usual efficient self. Mike Caprara was all over the field for the defense and Jordan Whitehead continues to have Pitt fans salivating and even came up with his first turnover of the year.
One person stood above all of them though and takes home our Panther of the Game award and that is sophomore Zach Challingsworth. Fans have been waiting for a second receiver to step up all year to compliment Boyd and finally a couple of Panthers are starting to do it (Dontez Ford also had a few catches yesterday). Challingsworth finished the game with three catches for 57 yards and one touchdown. Those are not eye popping numbers, but they were big....every one of them.
Take a look at Pitt's first touchdown to open the game. The sophomore receiver noticed a mismatch and called for the ball before the play even started, by waving his hand to Peterman. Duke brought pressure and Peterman threw it up for grabs in the corner of the end zone. Duke safety Deondre Singleton had tremendous coverage on the play, but Challingsworth leaped above him, reached over the defender and took it from Singleton to give Pitt a 7-0 lead early.
It wasn't just that catch, but all three of his receptions were big plays for Pitt. In the 2nd quarter, the Panthers converted a third-and-nine play with a completion to the South Fayette graduate. His third catch was also impressive and massive at the time. With Pitt up 17-10 in the second half, they faced a crucial third-and-thirteen just inside Blue Devil territory. Peterman found Challingsworth again for a huge 33-yard completion to the Blue Devils 8-yard line to set up a touchdown to put the Panthers in cruise control.
Everyone has been begging for a second receiver to step up to take some pressure off of Boyd and Pitt is starting to get some contributions from guys like Challingsworth and Ford.