The Pitt Panthers sit at the halfway mark of the season with a record of 4-2 and hope to get win number five this Saturday at Virginia.
To this point, Pat Narduzzi has gotten winning contributions from various members and positions on the team. You can point to the Panthers’ running attack, the All-American performance of Ejuan Price, or the surprise productivity of Quadree Henderson as reasons for Pitt’s success.
If you had to vote for Pitt’s MVP to this point, who’d get your vote? Let’s take a look at a few candidates.
Quadree Henderson: I’d definitely say Henderson has been Pitt’s biggest surprise in 2106. The sophomore wide out has done a good job of answering the question of how Pitt would replace the productivity of Tyler Boyd.
Henderson’s value in Pitt’s offense hasn’t really been in catching the ball (17 catches for 174 yards) instead he’s been a force on the ground. Matt Canada has been able to keep the opposing defenses off-balance using numerous misdirection plays and jet sweeps with Henderson. On the season, “Q” has 31 carries for 343 yards and 3 TD’s. Henderson has been one of the nations leaders in all-purpose yards all season.
Ejuan Price: I think the best and most appropriate way to describe Price’s year is to say he’s having an “Aaron Donald” type season. While Pitt’s defense has floundered for a good portion of the year, Price hasn’t been a reason for the struggles. The senior defensive end is leading the country in sacks and has been nearly unblockable.
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Adam Bisnowaty and Brian O’Neill: If there’s a team in the country that has a better pair of offensive tackles I’d like to see them. Bisnowaty has been a wall at left tackle and drawn praise from NFL scouts. According to some early mock drafts, Bisnowaty could go as early as the 2nd round.
On the other side, O’Neill has been incredible, not allowing a sack or quarterback pressure all season. Major credit has to go to offensive line coach John Peterson for helping O’Neill make the conversion from tight end to right tackle.
The job that these talented tackles have done this season has allowed Canada’s offense to work. The line has given Peterman time to throw the ball and holes for the backs and receivers to run through.
Those are all worthy candidates, but my vote for Pitt’s halfway MVP has to go to offensive coordinator Matt Canada. He’s come in and given fans and players alike the feeling that every time the Pitt offense has the ball, they can score a touchdown.
When’s the last time you can claim that Pitt has an exciting offense? For the first time in school history, Pitt has scored 35+ points in five straight games.
Let’s be honest, without the productivity of Pitt’s offense, they wouldn’t be 4-2. I credit that to the creativity of Canada.