Pitt has often been disappointing on the gridiron this season, but a glimmer of hope can be spotted in the backfield, as the tandem of Qadree Ollison and Darrin Hall has been outstanding in multiple games for the Panthers, who are now halfway through their 2018 slate.
Hall broke out in the latter half of the 2017 season with consecutive 100-yard performances against Duke, Virginia and North Carolina, and that undoubtedly played a major role in him securing regular playing time alongside Ollison in his senior season. And thus far, he hasn’t disappointed, averaging 6.5 yards per carry, his highest average yet, through six games.
On Saturday, Hall came up big for Pitt again, posting his first 100-yard game of the season and scoring two touchdowns. However, he was outshined by Ollison, who managed to amass 192 rushing yards, his highest rushing total since his debut game against Youngstown State in 2015. In addition to that, he found the end zone and came up with a clutch first down late in the game.
Hall and Ollison’s performances were huge, as Pitt’s rushing attack was instrumental in its 44-37 upset of Syracuse, which has emerged as an offensive force in the ACC this season.
Ollison is now up to 596 rushing yards on the season through six games for an average of 99.3 yards per game, putting him on pace for to best his 1,121-yard performance in his breakout freshman season. If he can continue to contribute at that rate, it could be huge for Pitt, which has struggled to move the ball through the air in many games with Kenny Pickett under center.
Obviously, this is also a beneficial development for Ollison, a senior who struggled in a more limited role over the previous two seasons. With him establishing himself as a vital contributor on Pitt’s offense and several high-profile games left on the schedule, he could see his stock rise at the perfect time and perhaps gain the attention of NFL scouts before the end of the season.