During Pitt's 44-28 loss to the Naval Academy yesterday, it dawned on me that I had to actually select someone as Panther of the Game. This, of course, proved very tough. The defense was shredded on the ground and every pass play for Navy seemed to have multiple receivers running free. Tyler Boyd had a solid game again, but unfortunately Navy kept him in check and did not allow the junior to find the end zone during the game. As a result, true freshman Qadree Ollison receives the nod this week as Panther of the Game.
Ollison led Pitt in rushing, despite only having eight carries on the day. A 45-yard touchdown run, in the second half, shot his rushing total to 73 yards, but even without that burst, he still averaged four yards per carry. If Pitt would not have fallen so far behind in the game, Ollison could have been poised for a bigger day.
The Niagara Falls native also accounted for another touchdown through the air and ended up with two catches for 14 yards. All told, Ollison had 87 total yards and two touchdowns on the day during a game that most Panthers would like to forget yesterday. His two scores were the only offensive points scored by the Panthers all game.
The 230-pound tailback gives Pitt something they sorely needed with James Conner's situation and today was further proof that he has put a stranglehold on the starting tailback position heading into next year if Conner isn't ready to play. If Conner's continued treatment goes well and he finds himself ready to suit up, all bets are off. But Ollison has the look of being the starter next year as things stand right now.