Pitt kicker Alex Kessman got off to a rough start this season, as he went 0-for-3 on field goals over the first two weeks. But on Saturday, he rebounded from the poor start and ended up going 3-for-3 on field goals in Pitt’s 23-20 win over Louisville. As a result, he earned ACC Specialist of the Week and Lou Groza Award Star of the Week honors on Monday.
In addition to making his three field goals on Saturday from distances of 45, 42 and 41 yards, Kessman went 2-for-2 on extra-point attempts, scoring a total of 11 points for Pitt. That was just under half of the 23 total points the Panthers put on the board.
For his efforts, Kessman was one of three kickers recognized by the Lou Groza Award along with Florida kicker Evan McPherson and Mississippi State kicker Brandon Ruiz. McPherson also went 3-for-3 on field goals in Florida’s 51-35 win over Ole Miss. He finished with 15 total points and knocked down a 55-yarder. Ruiz scored 14 points in Mississippi State’s 44-34 upset of LSU.
In addition, Kessman made the ACC Team of the Week along with Patrick Jones II, who was recognized as the conference's top defensive lineman of the week after his three-sack game against Louisville. Last week, Cam Bright and Rashad Weaver were also honored by the ACC after helping Pitt defeat Syracuse.
Kessman’s performance was a major departure from his showing in the first two weeks. In Pitt’s 55-0 win over Austin Peay, Kessman missed a 42-yard field goal but went 6-for-6 on extra points. In the 21-10 win over Syracuse, he was shakier, as he went 0-for-2 with misses from 37 yards and 45 yards but made all three of his extra-point attempts. The misses led to questions about his technique, which Pat Narduzzi said his staff would work on.
Given the results, it seems the Pitt staff and Kessman had success sorting out his issues, and the kicker could benefit the team greatly on Saturday, when Pitt takes on NC State. The Wolfpack gave up 30.1 points per game in 2019 and are conceding 43.5 points per game to opponents so far this season. As a result, it could be a busy day for Kessman.