Game Recap (Football): Nova vs Pitt
September 3rd, 2016
The Pitt Panthers marched onto the field, inspired by their star running back. James Conner, a subject of national attention, returned to the field after a bout with cancer and the team has both the depth and leadership to challenge for an ACC title.
Near the beginning of the game, Villanova attempted a fake punt after a rather mundane drive. While they did manage to reach the first down, Villanova ball carrier Ed Shockey coughed up the ball and Pitt linebacker Quintin Wirginis recovered the fumble. The following 4 drives resulted in punts, something that characterized much of the first half. At the beginning of the second quarter, Pitt kicker Chris Blewitt attempted a 39 yard field goal but missed it.
Villanova’s following drive ended due to a Terrish Webb interception, setting up star tailback James Conner, who scored the first points of the game with 7 minutes left in the half on a punishing 3 yard touchdown run to the outside. With 19 seconds left in the half, Conner scored again, this time on a reception. Peterman completed a nine yard pass over the middle, putting the Panthers up 14-0.
Pittsburgh’s Quadree Henderson came out strong to start the second half. He returned the opening kickoff for 96 yards, marking two consecutive games for Henderson with a kickoff return. Inconsistency and error defined the next several minutes for the University of Pittsburgh. Villanova returned a Nathan Peterman fumble to cut Pitt’s lead, leaving the score at 21-7. Chris Blewitt attempted yet another field goal, only to see it blocked. The Panthers regained momentum, though, capping off a 49 yard, 10 play drive with a 16 yard pass to redshirt junior Jester Weah. Weah’s touchdown reception extended Pitt’s lead to 28-7, the final score of the game. It also marked Weah’s first career touchdown grab.
Despite a slow start, the Panthers put together a respectable performance today. None of the statistics, team or individual, indicate a standout performance. Still, Peterman managed to spread the ball to a variety of receivers and Conner showed that he may return to his former level, both of which bode well for the future of this team. The defense paced the game, holding the Villanova offense scoreless and dominating from start to finish. Next up for the Panthers is Penn State, who looms ahead only a week away.
FINAL: Pitt 28 – Villanova 7