It feels great to really have to think about who was Pitt’s Panther of the Game in yesterday’s big upset over number two Clemson. During Pitt’s 43-42 win, the offensive line played so well as a unit that the Tigers were unable to key on the run or the pass. James Conner, again, came up huge with 132 yards on the ground and 57 receiving, plus two touchdowns. Tight End Scott Orndoff hauled in nine catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns. None of that even mentions kicker Chris Blewitt and his massive kick, who would typically be an easy pick.
However, quarterback, Nate Peterman stood above them all with his play and gets the Panther of the Game award.
With all due respect to Blewitt, who hit the game-winning field goal, he also hit some rough patches earlier on with the missed extra point and missed field goal before halftime. Peterman was simply outstanding and too good to pass on.
The senior signal caller was 22 of 37 for 308 yards and an incredible touchdown passes against no interceptions. Peterman also tacked on 18 yards on the ground with some timely runs. He also had a few receivers drop a few big passes, too, so his damage could have been even more.
Peterman’s ability to get the ball downfield allowed the Panthers to keep Clemson off balance. This allowed Conner to drive the Tigers crazy on the ground as well. Then, you have to look at the last drive of the game to get into field goal range. The Tennessee transfer led Pitt from their own 36-yard line to Clemson’s 30 yard-line for the game winning field goal.
That last drive happened with 52 ticks left on the clock and only one timeout. There was no panic in Peterman or the Panther offense and it paid off. Peterman has faced a fair amount of critics in his two years as Pitt quarterback, so it has to be satisfying to come up with his best performance in such a big moment.