Pittsburgh Panthers junior running back James Conner suffered a torn MCL in the team’s season opener against Youngstown State and is out for the season, turning Pitt’s 45-37 victory over the Penguins bittersweet. Conner’s injury was reported by Jerry DiPaola of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Prior to his injury, Conner had managed 77 yards and two rushing touchdowns on just eight carries. In 2014, he ran for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns before being named ACC Offensive Player of the Year. Needless to say, this is a devastating blow to the team’s offense in coach Pat Narduzzi’s first year with the Panthers.
Granted, redshirt freshman Qadree Ollison held his own as he filled in for Conner, posting 207 yards and a touchdown on just 16 carries, so Pitt could very well be able to hold its own over the course of the season.
But that doesn’t take away from the fact Conner is probably the best running back in the ACC and at or near the top of his position in all of college football, and his loss is a big one for a Pitt team looking to further establish itself as a top program in a sport that is only getting more competitive year after year.
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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports