Pitt Falls To Iowa 27-24 On Game-Winning 57-Yard Field Goal


Head coach Pat Narduzzi and his Pitt Panthers had their first true test of the season against Big Ten foe, the Iowa Hawkeyes. Since 2008, every game has been decided by four points or less.

And this one was no different.

More from Pitt Panthers

Trailing 17-7 at the half in front of a raucous Iowa crowd, Pitt attempted to reverse the script from last year’s game against Iowa at Heinz Field, in which the Hawkeyes came back to win 24-20.

Pitt almost did, but a Marshall Koehn career long 57-yard field goal as time expired gave Iowa a 27-24 victory.  And there is pretty much nothing you can do when that happens.  Koehn’s previous career long was 52 yards against Pitt last season.

Pitt decided to start junior graduate transfer Nathan Peterman at quarterback.  He made some nice throws in the first half, but two costly interceptions to Desmond King hurt momentum.  His second interception was in the end zone as he tried to force it to Tyler Boyd.

In the second half, Peterman looked more comfortable and drove Pitt down the field to tie the game 24-24 with 52 seconds remaining.  He successfully converted two 4th downs to keep the drive going in a hostile environment, including a 4th-down and 15 to J.P. Holtz with 1:28 left in the game.  This was Iowa’s first home night game since 2012, and it was loud.  Peterman finished 20 for 29 for 219 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions.

As for quarterback Chad Voytik, he appears to be regressing and is not throwing the ball down the field or to other players not named Tyler Boyd.  I think Pitt will try to stick with Peterman as we head into ACC play.  Peterman did manage to throw the ball to six other guys not named Boyd, which is a plus.  Pitt has to use other weapons and not be one dimensional.

The lack of James Conner made a significant difference in this game, as Conner ran over Iowa for 155 yards last year.  The Panthers only managed 55 yards on the ground on 27 carries.  True freshman Darrin Hall got the start but only finished with 38 yards on 14 carries.  Qadree Ollison had 17 yards on 4 carries.  With the lack of a running game, this made Peterman’s performance even better.  He can certainly grow from this game.

Tyler Boyd finished with 131 yards on 10 receptions, including the game-tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter.  He moved into second place on Pitt’s career receptions list as well.

Live Feed

A fitting finale for the College Football Playoffs. What did they do?
A fitting finale for the College Football Playoffs. What did they do? /

With the First Pick

  • NASCAR: The major, underrated positive of the playoff formatBeyond the Flag
  • NCAA Football: EA Sports lawsuit dropped, video game expected to come out on timeGarnet and Cocky
  • Alabama Football: One Giant will fall will there be any other help?Bama Hammer
  • The best college football gifts for fans this Christmas seasonSaturday Blitz
  • Did a heavyweight battle in Boulder live up to the HypeWith the First Pick
  • For Iowa, quarterback C.J. Beathard finished with 258 yards on 27 of 40 passes and one interception, and running back Jordan Canzeri had 12 carries for 49 yards and 2 touchdowns.

    I credit the Pitt defense, which looked significantly better than previous teams we had seen.  The players were in position to make hard-hitting plays.  The Panthers put pressure onto Beathard, and you could see that he was hurting.  I love the aggressive style of the Pitt defense, and we already see a similarity to the style of Michigan State.  True freshman safety Jordan Whitehead recorded 16 tackles against Iowa and now leads the team in that stat.  Whitehead appears poised to be another WPIAL star for Pitt.

    Trailing 10-0, Terrish Webb made an important interception in the second quarter, setting up a Peterman 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Scott Orndoff up the middle.  Pitt needs to continue to throw to its tight ends more, as Holtz and Orndoff are very talented blockers who can also catch anything thrown their way.

    Trailing 17-10, Ryan Lewis blocked a punt and Pat Amara Jr. picked it up and scored from 28 yards outs.  This was the first Pitt blocked punt for a touchdown since Todd Thomas in 2012 against Louisville.

    I think Narduzzi should have gone for the first down on 4th and inches in Iowa territory (42 yard line) in the fourth quarter, in a 17-17 game.  Had Pitt converted it, who knows what would have happened.  Instead, Pitt punted it for a touchback, and Iowa sustained a long drive, capped by a Canzeri 1-yard touchdown run.

    Narduzzi, a defensive guy, depended on his defense, but I think he made the wrong call.  Regardless, Pitt fought back with their own drive to respond and tie it.  Unfortunately, 52 seconds remained and Iowa managed to get in position for a 57-yard game-winning field goal.

    Pitt and Iowa have developed quite a rivalry over the years.

    My take-homes from this game:

    1) Nathan Peterman has a better arm than Chad Voytik, so he likely will be the guy going into ACC play.

    2) The Pitt defense aggressiveness was really fun to watch.  They made some hard hits and didn’t give up the big play this game.

    3) The loss of James Conner really stung in this game, but I think the Panthers can win 8 games if they build upon this effort.

    4) Iowa is a decent team (now 3-0), so losing to them is not as bad as previous losses by Pitt.  I do not think Iowa is a great team, but Pitt (2-1) still has their quest for an ACC Championship in front of them.


    Next: Steelers: The Home Field Fact Sheet

    More from City of Champions