For about a half of football, picking a Panther of the Game winner, would have been tough for anyone, as the Panthers stumbled through a bad half of football. Fortunately, a much better second half made for a fun problem to have yesterday. Despite, Pitt's 29-24 loss to Miami, Darrin Hall and Jordan Whitehead played solid games. In the end we gave the award to Hall on a slight edge thanks to his nice second half.
Whitehead should be mentioned however, as he used an 11-tackle performance to hit the 99 tackle mark for the year. Not bad for a guy who didn't start the first few games. Whitehead also added three pass breakups yesterday in a solid effort. The Central Valley graduate will be a fun one to watch the next couple of years for Pitt fans. In the end, though, Hall gave Miami fits and took home the Panther of the Game.
The true freshman finished his effort with 12 carries for 103 yards and one touchdown. His touchdown run came on a nice five-yard run, that extended to a 35-yard gallop in the third quarter, thanks to a nice second effort. It looked like Hall was stopped around the Miami 30-yard line, but he kept his legs churning and broke free of a Hurricane defender to find the end zone. A slight assist should be given to the Panther coaching staff in the second half for realizing Miami was having loads of trouble stopping running plays straight ahead when Pitt brought men across for a little misdirection.
The Pitt backfield is a crowded one, so running backs have to make the most of their opportunities. The Youngstown, OH native definitely took advantage today when he carried the rock. He found the holes quick and hit them hard to average 8.6 yards a carry and give Pitt some life in the second half. Hall was one of the reasons Pitt turned a blowout into an exciting ending.