Many times this year, picking a Panther of the Game has been a bit challenging. It’s not always easy to pick between guys, especially when you have to compare offensive performances with defensive ones.
Today was as easy as it’s been all year, however. Pitt running back Darrin Hall was far ahead of any other candidates.
Hall had a game for the ages with a pair of long touchdown runs of 79 and 92 yards, the latter being a school record. Even that was only part of his day. Hall added a third 4-yard touchdown and even if you take out those three runs, he also had 79 additional rushing yards on the day for a total of 254 yards on the ground.
In a single game, he’s gone from fifth on the team in rushing to first.
It’s been easy to forget about Hall. He was a four-star recruit when he came here but quickly got lost in the shuffle. James Conner emerged as the premier back and even during his 2015 season when he missed most of it, Hall was passed up by Qadree Ollison, who went on to become the ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Conner returned last year and the Panthers have continued to add backs, including Chawntez Moss and true freshman this year A.J. Davis. But Hall’s game is a prime example why players in his boat shouldn’t always transfer out of programs. Despite the fact that he looked like he was being passed up, he got his shot today and made the most of it. With the running game stagnant most of this year, Hall has now put himself in position to be the team’s starter.
I’m not sure this is a thing where he holds the job and doesn’t give it up. Pitt has had other guys like Qadree Ollison and Chawntez Moss play well at times. And we’re only a couple of weeks removed from thinking that safety Jordan Whitehead was the team’s most effective rusher. But Hall turned in a strong effort on Saturday and, for now, looks like the guy there.