11/12/16 - (K) - Chris Blewitt, Sr, 5-09, 183 Chris Blewitt made a 48-yard field goal with six seconds left as Pittsburgh stunned No. 3 Clemson 43-42, spoiling a record-setting Saturday for quarterback Deshaun Watson and complicating the Tigers' path back to the College Football Playoff. It was the biggest win for the Panthers (5-4, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) since knocking off No. 2 West Virginia 13-9 in 2007. Watson threw for an ACC record 580 yards and three touchdowns. But his third interception gave Pitt the chance to crawl back from a 42-34 deficit. After Saleem Brightwell's pick and 70-yard return, James Conner finished the drive with a 20-yard TD run. The Panther defense, which gave up 630 yards, rose up when it counted and stopped Wayne Gallman short on third and fourth down to take the ball with 58 seconds left. Two passes to Scott Orndoff put Pitt within range and Blewitt nailed the kick to send the Panthers into a frenzy. - AP Sports
11/09/16 - (WR) - Quadree Henderson, So, 5-08, 170 NOV 7 ACC SPECIALIST OF THE WEEK: Quadree Henderson, Pitt, KR, So., 5-9, 180, Wilmington, Del.,...On his first opportunity to touch the ball Saturday, Henderson took a Miami kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. He leads the nation with a school-record three kickoff return touchdowns this year and has four over his last 10 games (including two 100-yard returns). Henderson also leads the country in kickoff return average (33.8) and is second in combined kick return yards (872). Henderson compiled a game-high 176 all-purpose yards against the Hurricanes, including one punt return for 17 yards. - ACC Football
11/02/16 - (QB) - Max Browne, rJr, 6-4, 220 Southern California has granted quarterback Max Browne permission to speak with other programs about a possible transfer, though the redshirt junior remains with the team. Trojans coach Clay Helton said Tuesday that Browne can speak to any FBS program, including other schools in the Pac-12. Browne would be immediately eligible to play next season as a graduate transfer from USC (5-3, 4-2 Pac-12). "He has graduated from this university and has done everything right, so he deserves the opportunity to find his perfect fit, whether that is here or someplace else," said Helton, who took the starting job away from Browne after three games this season. "The biggest thing is just to get the word out."
After three years in the tumultuous USC program as a redshirt and Cody Kessler's backup, Browne passed for 481 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, but USC went 1-2 while scoring just one touchdown in its losses to top-ranked Alabama and defending conference champion Stanford. Browne then lost his position to redshirt freshman Sam Darnold, who has led USC on a four-game winning streak after losing his debut at Utah. Darnold has been excellent while passing for 1,565 yards with 18 touchdown passes. Browne was regarded as the top pro-style quarterback in the 2013 recruiting cycle after a record-setting career at Skyline in Sammamish, Washington. Long-departed coach Lane Kiffin recruited him, but Browne stuck with the Trojans through several coaching changes, including last season's switch to Helton, his former position coach. - AP Sports
10/17/16 - (WR) - Quadree Henderson, So, 5-08, 170 OCT 17 ACC SPECIALIST OF THE WEEK: Quadree Henderson, Pitt, So., WR, 5-8, 190, Wilmington, Del.,...Henderson once again showcased his explosive skills with a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Saturday’s 45-31 road win at Virginia. He added a 29-yard punt return to the Virginia 39 in the fourth quarter that set up the Panthers’ final score. Henderson finished with 112 yards on two kick returns (56.0 avg.), 46 yards on three punt returns (15.3 avg.) and 164 total all-purpose yards. Henderson has two kickoff returns for touchdowns this season and three over his last eight games. He is the only FBS player with multiple kickoff return for touchdowns this season. Henderson’s 35.9-yard kickoff return average leads the ACC and ranks third nationally. - ACC Football
10/17/16 - (FS) - Jordan Whitehead, So, 5-10, 185 OCT 17 ACC DEFENSIVE BACK OF THE WEEK: Jordan Whitehead, Pitt, So., SS, 5-11, 190, Aliquippa, Pa.,...Whitehead’s 59-yard interception return at the end of the first half gave Pitt the lead for keeps in the Panthers’ 45-31 win at Virginia. Pitt had just tied the score at 28 with under a minute remaining in the first quarter when the Cavaliers took over, looking to add points before intermission. Whitehead stepped in front of a Kurt Benkert pass at the Pitt 41, cut to the opposite sideline and then back to the middle for a touchdown with only four seconds remaining on the first-half clock. Whitehead, who also started on offense, had three rushes for 28 yards (9.3 avg.) and totaled four tackles. - ACC Football
10/16/16 - (FS) - Jordan Whitehead, So, 5-10, 185 It was only one play in a game unfolding as a track meet, and it changed the game entirely. Jordan Whitehead, deep in coverage as Virginia was trying to push the issue and sneak in more points before halftime, stepped in front of Kurt Benkert's pass at the Panthers' 41 and never stopped running until Pittsburgh took a 35-28 lead over Virginia into halftime. "It was gigantic. It was gigantic," Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi said after the Panthers won 45-31 Saturday. "We've been waiting for one of those picks in that coverage and we finally got one. ... Tremendous football play by him and then he finds a way to get it in the end zone." The play capped a wild half that saw the teams combine for three touchdowns in one span of 63 seconds on a 44-yard scoring run by Virginia's Taquan Mizzell, a 93-yard kickoff return by Quadree Henderson and Benkert's 74-yard strike to Olamide Zaccheaus. - AP Sports
10/10/16 - (OT) - Brian ONeill, rSo, 6-5, 300 OCT 10 ACC OFFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: Brian O’Neill, Pitt, So.-r, OT, 6-6, 300, Wilmington, Del.,...O’Neill tasted a rare moment of end zone glory and also stood out in the trenches to help lift Pitt to a 37-34 win over Georgia Tech. The Panthers’ starting right tackle, O’Neill scored the game’s first points when he took a designed throwback lateral 24 yards for a touchdown. O’Neill then settled into his more traditional responsibilities and was credited by the coaching staff with spearheading a Pitt offensive front that produced 407 yards (215 rushing and 192 passing). The Panthers’ ability to run the ball netted 5.1 yards per carry. - ACC Football
10/10/16 - (K) - Chris Blewitt, Sr, 5-09, 183 OCT 10 ACC SPECIALIST OF THE WEEK: Chris Blewitt, Pitt, Sr., PK, 5-9, 185, Alexandria, Va.,...Blewitt was perfect on seven placements (three field goals, four PATs) and provided the winning points on a 31-yard field goal as time expired to lift Pitt past Georgia Tech, 37-34. Blewitt accounted for a career-high 13 points in the win and became the Panthers’ all-time career leader in field goals with 52. Blewitt is also Pitt’s all-time kick scoring leader with 315 points. Saturday marked the second consecutive year he provided the winning margin over the Yellow Jackets. Blewitt’s school-record 56-yard field goal in 2015 pushed Pitt past Georgia Tech, 31-28. - ACC Football
10/08/16 - (K) - Chris Blewitt, Sr, 5-09, 183 Pitt banks on Blewitt FG, beats Georgia Tech...Chris Blewitt banked in a 31-yard field goal off the right upright on the final play after Pitt's defense came up with a fourth-down stop and the Panthers beat Georgia Tech 37-34 in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Blewitt's third field goal of the day was set up when Pitt stuffed Georgia Tech B-back Dedrick Mills for no gain on a run up the middle on fourth-and-inches at the Yellow Jackets' 34 with 1:47 to go. Pitt (4-2 overall, 1-1 in the ACC) played its fifth consecutive game decided in the final two minutes. Georgia Tech (3-3, 1-3) lost its third consecutive game. The Panthers got a 24-yard touchdown from offensive lineman Brian O'Neill in the first quarter. He initially blocked from his left tackle position, then released to catch a lateral, running along the left sideline to the end zone. Blewitt, who last season kicked a 56-yard field goal with 1:11 left to beat the Yellow Jackets, connected Saturday on field goals of 38, 41 and 31 yards. The senior moved into first place in school history with 52 career field goals. - The Sports Xchange
10/05/16 - (FS) - Jordan Whitehead, So, 5-10, 185 Pittsburgh safety Jordan Whitehead sat out last Saturday against Marshall for what coach Pat Narduzzi described as personal reasons. The 2015 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year dressed but did not take the field in Pitt's 43-27 win over the Thundering Herd. Narduzzi initially declined multiple requests to expand on why Whitehead did not play but issued a statement on Tuesday in hopes of clearing the air before the Panthers (3-2, 0-1 ACC) host Georgia Tech (3-2, 0-2) on Saturday. The statement read: "Jordan Whitehead did not play in last week's game for reasons that are personal in nature." Narduzzi declined further comment but said he anticipates Jordan will be able to play this week against Georgia Tech. Whitehead is second on the Panthers with 31 tackles through four games and has added 63 yards rushing on offense. - AP Sports
10/02/16 - (QB) - Nathan Peterman, rSr, 6-2, 226 A once seemingly insurmountable four-touchdown lead gone against resilient Marshall on Saturday night, Pittsburgh could have played it safe and tried to hold on. Not this time. Up by just a field goal and facing third down near midfield, Pitt quarterback Nate Peterman lobbed a deep ball to Jester Weah down the sideline. The junior wide receiver pulled it in over a defender and raced to the end zone for a 54-yard touchdown with 1:04 remaining and the Panthers pulled away late for a 43-27 win. "I loved it when they called the play," Weah said. "I knew I had the ability to make the play. I just had to go out there and just do it." And help Pitt (3-2) avoid another late meltdown. Two weeks after giving up the go ahead touchdown with 2:18 to play in a loss at Oklahoma State and seven days after a 13-point fourth-quarter lead turned into a last-second loss at North Carolina, the Panthers appeared in trouble again when Marshall's Keion Davis scored on a 1-yard run with 4:01 to play to pull the Thundering Herd (1-3) within 30-27.
After falling to the Tar Heels, Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said his team couldn't afford to become predictable in late-game situations. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada was listening. Peterman hit Scott Orndoff on third down to extend the drive before Peterman's second touchdown of the game let the Panthers exhale. "The best thing is we made plays when we needed to at the end," Narduzzi said. Peterman finished with a season-high 280 yards passing and two scores. - AP Sports
09/19/16 - (OLB) - Ejuan Price, rSr, 5-11, 241 SEPT 19 ACC DEFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: Ejuan Price, Pitt, Sr.-R, DE, 6-0, 255, Rankin, Pa.,...Price posted six total tackles, including four tackles for loss, two quarterback sacks and a forced fumble that Pitt scooped up for a touchdown in last Saturday’s road game at Oklahoma State. His five-yard sack in the third quarter jarred the ball loose from Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, and Panther teammate Matt Galambos took it in for a touchdown from two yards out, tying the game at 31. Price’s four TFLs went for 15 yards in losses (his two sacks covered nine yards). Price leads the nation in forced fumbles (1.00 per game) and ranks fourth in quarterback sacks (1.5) and tackles for loss (2.5). He leads the ACC in each of those categories as well. - ACC Football
09/13/16 - (WR) - Quadree Henderson, So, 5-08, 170 SEPT 12 ACC SPECIALIST OF THE WEEK: Quadree Henderson, Pitt, So., WR/KR, 5-8, 190, Wilmington, Del.,...Henderson compiled 201 all-purpose yards, making big plays as a runner, receiver and returner in the Panthers’ win over Penn State. His biggest play came in the kick-return game after Penn State closed to within four points early in the fourth quarter. Henderson responded on the subsequent kickoff with an 84-yard return down to the Penn State 10. Pitt scored a touchdown three plays later to go up 42-31, providing enough cushion to hold off the Nittany Lions. Henderson also averaged 14.5 yards per rush (four carries for 58 yards) and three catches for 47 yards, including a 7-yard TD. Henderson leads the nation in kick-return average (53.5 yards per return) and is sixth in all-purpose yards (206 per game). - ACC Football
09/13/16 - (CB) - Ryan Lewis, rSr, 5-11, 192 SEPT 12 ACC DEFENSIVE BACK OF THE WEEK: Ryan Lewis, Pitt, Sr.-r, CB, 6-0, 200, Seattle, Wash.,...Lewis joined a long list of Pitt players to make unforgettable plays in the historic Penn State series, which resumed on Saturday with a 42-39 win by the Panthers at Heinz Field. With the Nittany Lions threatening at the Pitt 31 with 1:15 to play, Lewis intercepted a pass by Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley in the end zone, ending both the drive and the game. In addition to his interception, Lewis added a game-high nine tackles, all solo. - ACC Football
09/13/16 - (RB) - *James Conner, rJr, 6-1, 233 Pitt and Penn State spent the days leading up to the renewal of their once annual series in a semantic argument over whether they're still rivals. The Nittany Lions tried to downplay the stakes, with coach James Franklin pointing out the current roster on both sides were toddlers the last time the two schools faced each other in 2000. The Panthers went the other way, with coach Pat Narduzzi bringing in the 1976 national championship team to give a pep talk on what facing Penn State used to - and still could - mean. Four quarters, nearly four hours and one well-timed interception by a fifth-year cornerback later, consider the debate over. Pitt-Penn State is still very much a thing. James Conner ran for 117 yards and a touchdown and caught another and senior Ryan Lewis picked off Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley in the end zone with just over a minute to play as the Panthers held on for a 42-39 victory on Saturday in front of the largest crowd to watch a sporting event in the city's history - 69,983. "I would say going to next year, they're going to think it's a rivalry now," said Pitt safety Jordan Whitehead. - AP Sports
09/07/16 - (RB) - *James Conner, rJr, 6-1, 233 Pitt beats Villanova as Conner stars in return...Junior running back James Conner scored two touchdowns in his return from a serious knee injury and a cancer battle to help Pittsburgh record a 28-7 victory over Villanova on Saturday in a nonconference affair at Pittsburgh. Conner rushed for 53 yards and one touchdown and added a 9-yard scoring reception for the Panthers (1-0). Conner, the 2014 ACC Player of the Year, suffered a serious knee injury in last season's opener and was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in November before recently being declared free of cancer.
Sophomore Quadree Henderson returned a kickoff 96 yards for Pittsburgh. Senior quarterback Nate Peterman completed 19 of 32 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns. Villanova (0-1) totaled just 172 yards and its lone points came on a fumble return by junior safety Rob Rolle. The Wildcats had just 53 yards on the ground in 33 attempts and sophomore quarterback Zach Bednarczyk completed 16 of 31 passes for 119 yards and one interception. Conner, who rushed for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2014, gave the Panthers a 7-0 lead when he scored on a 3-yard run with 7:08 left in the first half. His touchdown catch came with 19 seconds left as Pittsburgh took a 14-point lead into the break. - The Sports Xchange
09/07/16 - (RB) - *James Conner, rJr, 6-1, 233 The comeback James Conner never doubted, not once, officially ended with an unremarkable 1-yard loss. And while the Pittsburgh running back picked himself up and quietly headed back to the huddle early in the first quarter against Villanova on Saturday, thousands inside Heinz Field rose to their feet for a standing ovation that had nothing to do with football and everything to do with perseverance. There will be plenty of time for Conner to nitpick his performance in Pitt's 28-7 season-opening win. Just not Saturday. Conner's well aware of the significance of his familiar No. 24 jersey sprinting onto the field for the first time in 364 days, a layoff that began with a knee injury last September against Youngstown State then became something far more harrowing when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma around Thanksgiving. The road back included months of chemotherapy treatment, sessions that left him drained but undaunted. He soldiered through spring practice wearing a mask during drills to protect his depleted immune system, all the while hoping his example would resonate with those facing similar battles. It's a role he never envisioned having to fill, but one he's willingly embraced. - AP Sports
08/22/16 - (QB) - Max Browne, rJr, 6-4, 220 Browne win USC quarterback job...Junior Max Browne has outdueled redshirt freshman Sam Darnold and will be the starting quarterback when Southern California opens the season against Alabama on Sept. 3. USC coach Clay Helton announced the decision on Saturday after a spirited derby between the two signal callers. "At this point, we feel that it is in the best interest of our football team to lean on the veteran experience that Max Browne has, so we have named him the starter going into our opening game against Alabama," Helton said in a statement. "With our experienced offensive line and the weapons at our skill positions, we as a staff are confident that Max's ability will help guide a very successful offense."
Browne, who has thrown 19 college passes, said he was thrilled when Helton broke the news to him that he had won the job. "It was a moment of realization that hard work and staying the course paid off for me," Browne said. "I feel like I have put in the work necessary to earn the starting position and I look forward to leading this team to championships. "Sam is a heck of a player and he pushed me to the final day of camp. We are good friends and I have no doubt he will have a great career at USC." Browne and Darnold competed throughout the spring and summer until Saturday's decision. The Trojans are replacing three-year starter Cody Kessler, who is now a member of the Cleveland Browns. Helton feels the coaching staff did the right thing by keeping the competition going up until two weeks before the first game. - The Sports Xchange
05/24/16 - (RB) - *James Conner, rJr, 6-1, 233 Pittsburgh running back James Conner says he is cancer-free, less than six months after being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. Conner posted on his Twitter account Monday: "God is AMAZING. Just got the call that my body is clean of cancer!!!" Been a long road but God has my back. Thanks everyone who said prayers!" Conner was the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year in 2014, then tore a ligament in his right knee in the first game of last season. Doctors discovered tumors on Conner's chest and neck at Thanksgiving and he was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. He started chemotherapy in December. Conner threw out the first pitch at a Pirates' game last month and said then he hoped to be ready for the start of Pitt's season. - AP Sports
05/22/16 - (FS) - Jordan Whitehead, So, 5-10, 185 2016 Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List: Jordan Whitehead, DB, Pitt (5-11, 185, Aliquippa, PA): One of the top freshmen in the country last season; Consensus Frosh All-American; led Pitt with 109 tackles, most ever by a freshman; Also Academic All-ACC; Rushed 12 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns. - Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation/Lott IMPACT Trophy
05/12/16 - (RB) - *James Conner, rJr, 6-1, 233 RB James Conner is one step closer to returning to the football field and getting back on track to his dream of playing in the NFL.
The All-American completed his 12th and final chemotherapy treatment Monday in his battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He was diagnosed with the disease last Thanksgiving.
On Monday, Conner tweeted, "Glory to God allowing me to get through these 12 schedule chemo treatments. Been a long road, Results coming soon!"
Conner emerged as an intriguing NFL prospect as a sophomore with 1,765 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns, receiving 2014 ACC Offensive Player of the Year honors. However, he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 2015 season opener and was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma a few months later.
When healthy, Conner has next-level talent and was viewed as a possible top-100 draft pick. Listed at 6 feet 2 and 240 pounds, he is a bruising ball carrier who runs with balance, vision and physical finish to make a living between the tackles.
Conner doesn't have the speed or make-you-miss agility that jumps off the screen, but he is able to be productive with his ability to read blocks and pick his way through congestion.
Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry was sidelined by Hodgkin's Lymphoma and made a successful return to the field for the 2015 season, nearly nine months after his initial diagnosis. He was named to the 2015 Pro Bowl and NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
Former Auburn offensive lineman Shon Coleman was diagnosed with leukemia and required 30 months of chemo treatments before returning to campus. He started at left tackle for the Tigers the past two seasons and was a third-round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns last month.
Despite several medical setbacks during the past year, Conner plans to play in the NFL. If he is medically cleared to resume football activities in the next few months, Conner should regain his spot atop the Pitt running back depth chart for the 2016 season. And if he
04/21/16 - (RB) - *James Conner, rJr, 6-1, 233 James Conner's lungs are clear. His focus, too. Less than five months after being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, the Pittsburgh running back can see the finish line. The cancer is retreating. His strength is returning. The relentless optimism that has fueled his fight never in doubt. "Things are falling into place now like before I even knew I had cancer," Conner said on Sunday after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before the Pittsburgh Pirates hosted the St. Louis Cardinals the 2016 Major League opener.
Conner's toss to Chris Stewart took a hop before landing in the catcher's glove as the black-clad sellout crowd at chilly PNC Park roared. The ever competitive 2014 ACC Player of the Year smacked his hands in faux frustration, the rare misstep during a journey that has thrust the 20-year-old into the unlikely role of inspirational figure. It's a job Conner didn't seek out but has hungrily accepted during his very public fight. "I tell people they can do it and help people get through things and not complain about the little things," Conner said. Including an out-of-nowhere bout with mortality. Conner was rehabbing from a torn ligament in his right knee sustained in the 2015 opener against Youngstown State when his sluggishness turned into a stunning diagnosis in late-November. - AP Sports
01/01/16 - (WR) - *Tyler Boyd, Jr, 6-1, 197 Pitt WR Boyd to enter NFL Draft...Pitt junior wide receiver Tyler Boyd announced Friday that he will skip his senior season and enter the 2016 NFL Draft. Boyd leaves Pitt with school records for career catches (254) and receiving yards (3,361). He is currently ranked as the No. 5 draft-eligible receiver in the 2016 class and projected as a top-50 pick by NFLDraftScout.com. Although he didn't surpass 1,000 yards in 2015 (the only season he failed to reach that benchmark), Boyd set a career best with 91 catches and added six touchdowns. With streaky quarterback play and running back James Conner sidelined for the 2015 season, the Pitt play-calling manufactured touches for Boyd, including handoffs and screens, as he was the team's best playmaker on offense. Despite playing with three different starting quarterbacks each of his three years with the Panthers, Boyd produced consistent numbers each season, breaking several school records in the process. Boyd has an instant accelerator to reach his top speed with his initial strides, using sharp cuts and burst off his plant foot to mix his gears in his patterns. - The Sports Xchange
12/04/15 - (RB) - *James Conner, rJr, 6-1, 233 Pittsburgh junior running back James Conner has been diagnosed with cancer and will begin treatment immediately. The 2014 ACC Player of the Year said Friday he received the diagnosis of stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma on Thanksgiving and has tumors in his neck and chest. He will begin chemotherapy next week. Treatment will last about six months. Conner tore a ligament in his right knee in the 2015 season opener against Youngstown State. He had been contemplating returning for his senior season or turning pro. Those plans are put on hold while he focuses on his health. Conner said he was at a crossroads while trying to decide whether to come back. He calls his diagnosis a blessing in disguise and said he plans to play for Pitt when he's healthy. - AP Sports
12/01/15 - (WR) - *Tyler Boyd, Jr, 6-1, 197 2015 ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE FIRST TEAM (MEDIA): WR Tyler Boyd, Jr., Pitt, 147/150 Votes...For Boyd (Clairton, Pa./Clairton), this is the third All-ACC recognition of his career and second consecutive season he was a first-team pick. Boyd paces the ACC in receptions per game (7.7 avg.) and receiving yards per game (79.4 avg.). Boyd is Pitt’s all-time career leader in catches (248) and receiving yards (3,308). - Pitt Football