Freshman kicker Alex Kessman got off to a slow start to the season. His inaccuracy against Youngstown State, in particular, nearly cost Pitt a game.
In that season opener, Kessman missed both of his attempts from 28 and 38 yards out before the Panthers pulled off a win in overtime. Since then, however, he’s been nearly automatic.
Since the opener, Kessman has booted seven of his nine attempts for field goals and he hit another one this weekend from 43 yards in Pitt’s 35-17 loss to NC State.
Kessman isn’t just nailing his kicks, he’s showing off a really strong leg while doing so. He’s already connected from both 55 and 56 yards this year, and is 2-3 from attempts 50 yards or more. He’s also a perfect 18-18 in extra point attempts.
His best game was against Syracuse last week when he made all three of his attempts and his extra point attempt to give him ten points in the game. Without his leg, the team’s 27-24 loss probably isn’t as close.
The refreshing thing is that Kessman is not only playing well, but is only a freshman. Assuming he can keep this up, the Panthers may not have to worry about a field goal kicker for the next three seasons.
Pitt has had its fair share of position troubles this year but the Panthers at least have the kicking game figured out.