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College Football: Pittsburgh Panthers Triplets Nathan Peterman, James Conner & Quadree Henderson Shine

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College Football: Pittsburgh Panthers Triplets Nathan Peterman, James Conner & Quadree Henderson Shine

2016-11-21 15:40:55

-by Bo Marchionte, Contributing Writer; Image: Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Nathan Peterman has 22 TD passes. (Image Source: Jason Pohuski/College2Pro.com)

Pittsburgh, PA—Coming off their upset road win against the Clemson Tigers, the Pittsburgh Panthers returned to Heinz Field for another ACC showdown versus the Duke Blue Devils. It was the first real taste on winter with a crisp 38 degrees and a stiff breeze that made it feel more like 29 by mid-afternoon.

Panthers quarterback Nathan Peterman, who was named the Walter Camp National Player of the Week last week after throwing five-touchdown passes in the upset at Clemson, continued his hot streak against Duke.

“Nathan (Peterman) played a heck of a game,” Head Coach Pat Narduzzi said after the game.

In his past two games, Peterman has thrown eight touchdown passes, as the Panthers throttled the Blue Devils 56-14 to improve to 7-4.

When the dust settled in the first quarter, 21 points were on the board with 14 belonging to the Panthers after a James Conner one-yard rushing touchdown. Conner tied former North Carolina State superstar Ted Brown (1975-78) with 49 all-time rushing touchdowns in the ACC. Conner would leave the game with a right ankle injury.

“He had a little tweak,” Narduzzi revealed, before he added that he asks his players to be smart about returning to the field.

Another offensive star, Mr. Versatility for the Panthers, Quadree Henderson was the recipient of Peterman’s second touchdown pass of the game. The 52-yard scoring strike was Henderson’s longest of his career and advanced the score to 21-7 just minutes inside the second quarter.

“He’s a beast,” Conner said of the sophomore playmaker. Coach Narduzzi shared in the excitement and potential of Henderson saying, “Boy he got a burst,” reflecting on how he finished the punt return.

It wasn’t all easy for Pitt’s offensive stars, as Peterman had his share of ups and downs in the second quarter. He threw a pick six to Duke defensive back Bryon Fields.

“It the game of football,” Narduzzi said. “There will be adversity,” he told Peterman but the headman was not concerned about him having lingering issues after the pick six.

The next drive, Peterman responded with his second touchdown pass of the first half. He connected with Jester Weah for 56 yards, the second 50-plus yard touchdown pass thrown by Peterman in the game.

With Conner back on the field after intermission, the physical runner capped off a Panthers third-quarter drive with another one-yard touchdown. It placed Conner as the ACC’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (50).

“He brought a giant spark in the second half,” Narduzzi said of Conner. “He leads by being in the huddle. He’s a special person and a special player.”

The ability of Pitt’s defense to force Duke punts didn’t just prevent the Blue Devils from cutting into the lead, but allowed the Panthers to add to it, as Henderson showed off his versatility with a 65-yard punt return.

The immense lead allowed Pittsburgh to do what they do best, pound Conner behind their tremendous offensive line. Conner finished the game with 101 rushing yards on 14 carries along with two touchdowns.

“Got some hogs up front,” Conner said referring to his offensive line. “Made it easy for me up front with them.”

Peterman would add another touchdown, this time a 48-yard pass to senior tight end Scott Orndoff. He finished the game with 237 passing yards.

With Peterman, Connor, and Henderson all making plays, Panthers football is on a roll at the moment and that bolds well for their bowl invitation. Saturday’s effort was also an example of how Pitt’s triplets are among the most-dangerous threesomes in the ACC.

To Read More from Bo Marchionte go to College2Pro.com.

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