Right after we played the Villanova game in the season opener I wrote an article titled Why Can’t We Get The Good QBs?  In it was this bit about how a commenter saw my continual talking about Peterman as our QB:

“Yesterday a commenter on here made a rather witty remark in saying that when I write about Nate Peterman, who is currently Pitt’s starting QB,  “it’s like a patriot fan talking about Tom Brady and deflate gate.

Which I suppose is true, so I’ll try to stick with more factual stuff here in this piece. But what transpired over the first four games of this season didn’t make Nate Peterman any new fans, the opposite happened actually – we were wary of Peterman’s slow start.  Even though most Pitt fans kind of knew we’d be 2-2 to start off the year it still was a bit disappointing to really be at an even .500 average.

Especially since we were racking up points like we had never seen before.

To start off the first third of our season Peterman did this:


Which in any other Pitt year might have been deemed “OK or fine or whatever… same old Pitt at 2 and 2 though”.  But the truth was that we didn’t seem to win games because of our QB play and in those two losses Peterman missed open receivers on 3rd down conversions way more than he had completions on those critical plays. He missed his targets on other crucial downs also.

Even the fans who appreciated his first year’s work in a Pitt uniform and wanted to see Peterman come out of the gate airing out the ball realized that our Offensive Coordinator  Matt Canada was doing the best he could to cover Peterman’s slow start with his use of our running game to cover for it.

So we had eight more games to play and it looked like the run game, which was going great guns and cruising along at 15th nationally with 250 ypg and 11 TDs, was going to have to carry our Saturday matches to victory.  Luckily that rushing production has kept strong in every game we have played – not an easy thing during this year when our defense is so very, very bad.

You have to wonder is some finger-pointing and ‘us vs them’ popped up in the locker room among the kids back then.  But if it did, and I sort of wonder if it did, Narduzzi and staff kept them focused and together for the long run.

But you can’t expect to win games consistently  with only two of the team’s four main units  making anything happen. Our run defense was stout in giving up only 100 or so yards per game; we also had a great running game as mentioned, but the passing side of the equation was 1) pretty weak on offense and 2) extremely crippling on defense.

So what did happen to make the team come together to finish out the last eight games with a 6-2 record?  Our defense didn’t get all that much better – aside from two crucial stops against Clemson that will go down in Pitt lore as one of the best series of plays we’ll ever have.

We still gave up an average of 37.3 ppg over the rest of the season… but we upped our scoring to 45.5 ppg.  Peterman’s decision-making and arm had a lot to do with that.

We now know that we ripped off a 6-2 finish to get to the 8-4 point where we stand today.  We saw a great upset of a very strong ACC opponent by our kids down in Death Valley that was accomplished on the heels of a complete beat down by Miami just the week before.  That has been the hallmark of this 2016 year, resiliency has been the key for us and our QB has shown that to be true with his play also.

The key when discussing QB play is how efficient one is in throwing the ball.  There are some formulas for passing efficiency that take into account some pretty esoteric  details such as ESPN’s Total QBR.  Here is how that works. 

Peterman shows well in that with a 82.1 mark (don’t ask, I still can’t figure that out) so I look at the gauge the NCAA uses when determining ratings – in that Peterman comes in with a excellent 161.2 over all the games.  That 161.2 is good for 9th in the nation (same as where he stands with the ESPN rating) and is pretty damned amazing given the rather blase’ start to the season Peterman had.

But those last eight games? That is where Peterman really took off and grabbed the offense for his own. Running for 250 yards per game wasn’t the answer with the other three units dragging their feet. It was when Canada started to really integrate the passing game as an (sort of) equal in the offense that things rounded into shape.

In those last games, when we went 6-2 to finish out with an 8-4 regular season record and a good shot at nine wins on the year Peterman had 114 completions out of 194 attempts (59%) for 2153 yards and 20 TDs : 4 INTs. Wow!  And that stretch of play was good for a truly outstanding 181.2 QB rating to close out the home stretch.

To put things in a bit of different light, that 181.2 QB rating, if sustained over the season, would land him at 4th in the country vice the 9th spot he is in now.

I like stats – anyone who reads this blog and my work on the Pitt Blather knows that.  But I also know that stats don’t show the 360 degrees of a kid’s play, his decision-making, ability to think on his feet, pick up yards on the ground when needed and his general bad-assedness.

Palko had bad-assedness coming out his pores it seemed; Dan Marino had bad-assedness galore as we all know. Peterman’s scale on the bad-ass listing? 

Maybe not up there with those guys but he’s knocked the crap out of some cornerbacks trying to tackle him lately, he’s run very hard and dove for that beautiful pylon-tagging TD last week. 

Plus he completely dominated the Nation’s #2 Clemson’s defensive backfield with 308 yards and 5 TDs in a game that I’d put up against Tyler Palko’s 5 TD “I love these f*cking guys” game against Notre Dame any day of the week.

Both were fantastic wins for Pitt weren’t they? Both will be remembered as great wins as long as we talk about Pitt football.

Speaking of that game Palko’s QB rating in that match against unranked ND was 168.0; Peterman’s rating against #2 Clemson was 174.0.  Just saying…, you know what I’m saying….right?

Just kidding, sort of – those two kids are about as opposite as can be in temperament and aggressiveness.  In a grudge cage match I give the money to Palko over Peterman.  However, in a beer drinking and hard boiled egg eating contest I give Peterman the edge.

Peterman has one more game in a Pitt uniform to play us to victory and an elusive nine win season.  I point to that Clemson game a lot because I think it was a real turning point in the season for us.  We went down to Death Valley at 5-4 and having just been pretty much humiliated by Miami the week before.  If we lose that game, and we were huge underdogs, I think the season could have gone down the tubes to a 7 or maybe even a 6 win year.

But we won that game and that slingshot us into the last two games knowing we could beat anyone… and we did in our last two regular season games. Now, holding anyone to under 60 points was a whole different deal apparently.

Here is some historical stats to chew on. As I said above you have to take stats into consideration with many other factors to get a complete picture of how good a college QB really is.  After all – you look at these stats below and you see Sunseri is up there in the Top 5 in QB ratings which makes one shudder – same with his being #3 in passing yardage just 7 yards shy of Marino.  Still, no one is saying he’s been one of our top QBs in the modern era.

But I do think we should consider Nate Peterman to be one.  He came to Pitt with a pretty poor track record at Tennessee and had to work doubly hard to unseat the incumbent QB Chad Voytik, a fan favorite, to get the starting job. He did what was necessary and it turned out well.  He had a decent, I think good, JR year and this season, his SR year, has been one of excellent play over all.

Here is a listing of our best QBs since the 1970 season. You can see that absent his upcoming last bowl game, Peterman not only holds his own against other Pitt QBs but has situated himself near the top in some very important categories – again, the QB rating being one that I think shows us most completely what a player contributes to the offense.

Panther QBs.PNGThere are different teams, times and eras to consider with these numbers I know.  But note that in addition to his #2 QB rating Peterman is also #1 in passing yards per game and 5th in TDs thrown. His TD:INT ratio is tops also at 3.26 TDs to 1 INT. Palko’s is 2.64:1,  Sunseri come is at 2.13:1 and Rutherford’s  is 2.00:1.

Pretty surprising – I didn’t know that until I started researching this article.  That’s heady company and considering he’s done that in only two seasons and with only 24 games played it makes one jumps up and take notice.

We also win games with Peterman at the helm.  He has 14 wins on his belt now with a possible (fingers crossed) 15th in his two years as a starter – not bad considering how many games Pitt has won on average per year since the 70’s.

It is hard to fault Matt Canada for any of his decision-making this season given our huge jump in scoring this year.  His creative use of his personnel is literally what has kept us winning games in what is one of the most bizarre seasons I can remember as a Pitt fan.  To have to carry the load by themselves the offensive players have, in essence, won those eight games for us.

That isn’t a good thing and the burden of that falls directly on the QB’s shoulders because, as much as we may pooh-pooh the idea,  it is still a QB’s game to win or lose as soon as he touches every snap back to him.  Peterman has done well with that so far at Pitt. 

Now go get us that last bowl win Nate and that 9th win.   With the history Pitt has had  your two-year career here has been some of the best QB play we have seen in some time. Keep it going for one more win.

And thanks Nate for making The University of Pittsburgh your alma mater.

Note: Hell, lets watch some more of those Clemson highlights…






328 thoughts on “POV Follow Up: Nate Peterman’s Year

  1. Bad weekend, bball team plays like St. Francis vs scrub Duquesne. Pedo’s get Roses laid at their feet for being a perv pedo cult, while Pitt gets a 6-6 team in NY Toilet Bowl. Hard being a Pitt fan 😦


  2. UPitt and EMel – you guys are still pissed at being denied lovely Shreveport and the drive thru daiquiri places.

    Jackagain and Huff – excellent, rational POVs today.

    I’m delighted to being going to NYC and play a B1G team. It’s gonna be a little harder for Pitt fans to take the town over like last year. But we will certainly have a lot of fun. And so will the team.


  3. The Bowl Selection Committee ranked Pitt 23, a better system than the AP or UPI polls. PSU got the Pinstripe at 6/6 against BC the bottom of the ACC the year before last and Syracuse got it last year. Agree we are screwed by this bowl again if we lose.But agree most important step is to put a whuppin on whoever we play and go gangbusters on recruiting.A fact is that our history as bowl fans is not great and it is a business, that hurts us, so if we become a top 10 team the fans become less important as when we played Georgia in the Sugar Bowl in 82. Shore up the D and give it to NW 99/ 21.H2p


  4. If you read AD Barnes’ quote on the Pitt website, he congratulates the Panthers for going to the ( drum roll please)……..wait for it…….”Tier 1 New Era Pinstripe Bowl.”
    Huh? Tier One? Really? Tier 1, did he say Tier one? Huh????


  5. Pulled this from PSN article yesterday –

    “So the reality of the situation is this: penn state had a great season and is going to a far better bowl game than Pitt. But another part of that reality is that the Nittany Lions aren’t going to the playoff because they lost to the Panthers.

    So the Penn State faithful need to admit one of two things:

    1) Pitt is indeed a rival. The rivalry is back. And your rival cost you a chance at a national title.


    2) Your national championship hopes were dashed by a team you deem to be too inferior to acknowledge as a rival in the first place.”

    I also believe that HCPN was in Barney’s ear to get a bowl game with Stanford (Sun Bowl) or a B1G Joke team anywhere. HCPN knows this team better than anyone and he wants to win this bowl game. This team (right now) struggles mightily vs pass heavy teams and probably can’t beat many “other” teams on the bowl circuit other than B1G Joke teams. Just so happens we get NW who has the best receiver in the B1G Joke – ikr –

    Challenges – you either meet them and defeat them,


    You cower and the challenges devour you.

    By the way, I’m not looking past NW, but HCPN already has the formula to beat penn state next season at creepy valley. Rerun the Death Valley film and you’ll know what I mean…



  6. Frank MD’s post with the chart comparing the power 5 conferences against each other is an interesting read. What stood out to me is that the ACC played 15 out of conference games against other power 5 schools, while the big 10 played only 11. I guess they have the extra conference game? But then this list doesn’t include the games against ND that are connected to the ACC. It looks like Pitt and FSU are the only 2 ACC schools that played multiple non-conference power 5 opponents this year (but like I said, it doesn’t show ACC schools that played ND).


  7. Guys – thanks for carrying on the blog in my absence.

    I’m doing a article today about the bowl selection.

    I’ve been scrambling around the past three days trying to get people out of the camps in the woods and into semi-permanent housing before winter blows in for my volunteer work. Something to think about if you have an extra buck or three laying around you might be able to donate.

    Thanks again…


  8. Reading comments here it seems that Penn State is quite the double edged sword. Penn State and their conference are undeserving of their rankings but Pitt should be ranked higher because they beat Penn State.

    @gc for what it’s worth I fully agree with your points regarding Penn State. Outside of Iowa, who finished strongly, they didn’t really play anybody down the stretch but they beat the hell out of most of those teams including Iowa (who later beat Michigan). PSU then beat Wisconsin who gave Ohio State all it could handle in Madison (21-14) and lost to Michigan by 7 at Ann Arbor (14-7). Also saw some discussion that Wisconsin has a poor defense because of the Big 10 Championship result. Wisconsin surrendered a total of 38 points to OSU and Michigan. Pitt surrendered 40 points (2 missed XPs) in the second half to Syracuse which played with a backup quarterback.

    I thought only WVU fans felt this persecuted by the world….


  9. Seems like last year we were 8-4 and people on here were hoping for an invite to the Pinstripe. This year we are 8-4 and we get the Pinstripe and now it is a toilet bowl. Go figure.


  10. Looks like our traveling so well to Annapolis got us the Pinstripe .

    Don’t see the same numbers happening this year.

    Pitt- Stanford would have been a great TV draw, Pitt- Northwestern not so much.

    Miami gets West Virginia. Pitt-West Virginia mad too much sense.

    The non-Carolina schools need to vote these bums out of power.


  11. Funny when I made the argument that we didn’t need OKST on the schedule, some said they like the tougher schedule. Fine, but it cost us a higher ranking and better bowl. Now some say playing a 6-6 team is better because we can win the bowl game. Maybe but remember that beating Bowling Green did little to help our rep. I would rather play the ranked team in the Bowl Game, and play one non-com rival, early on.

    Thanks for the vote of confidence Barvo. It’s good to know someone shares an opinion.


  12. GC – I was with you and started the whole good for WVU and PSU and Temple and of course Pitt. Glad the schools are all doing well. Sick of that area shitting bed for so long. All programs will
    Make each other better.

    PSU is very Strong and has talent all over. Pitt also very strong but new recruiting is shitting the bed. I agree we gave up 60 points to Syracuse with a backup.

    No offense but no one Nationally will watch more than 5 mins of the Pinstripe Bowl with us and NW.

    They would of watched Pitt vs. Stanford. Bowl Sucks but when you are led by Jimm Swaggert of Mormon U what do you expect. No offense to Mormons out there.

    Reed – I’d like to give. Please message me who and where to send money so it goes to righh place even if it is you and you buy stuff for the homeless.


  13. So let me get this straight. We crybaby Pitt fans are indignant that we get placed in a middling tier one ACC bowl game because we deserve better as a middling also ran in the Coastal Division of the ACC?

    Yeah, a Backyard Brawl in Orlando would have been ideal but that was a long shot to begin with when all of the politics of the Bowl selection committees is considered up front.

    So here is the “reality check” for all you guys who constantly insist on “keeping it real”.
    First, us and Syracuse are just seen as the newest adopted red headed stepchildren north of the Mason-Dixon Line in the ACC, right along with BC, until further, notice by the powers to be Tobacco Road good old boys in the ACC leadership.
    Second, historically, Pitt travels like $hit to our bowl games.
    Third, Pitt attendance sucks even for it’s own home games.
    Fourth, the ACC owes us NOTHING. Until we bust down the door with an outstanding record for the season &/or an outright championship, Pitt will continue to be relegated the leftovers in the top bowl picks by these good old boys who are in charge of those ACC politics.
    Fifth, the bowl selection people don’t consider Pitt as a big time national program, YET.

    So for all of those reasons we end up in the Pinstripe Bowl against Northwestern as our reward for beating two top five teams & a 8-4 record.

    Talk to VT fans who also got screwed with the Belk Bowl, (even a bigger screw job IMO) if you want some more “we got dissed” company.

    What’s the solution to this problem? Win, as fans, show up for games in person, and make Pitt the undeniable front runner for the prestigious bowls on the ACC’s slate.

    Is this system fair and equitable for Pitt? Absolutely not! Will it change before the reputation of Pitt’s lack of a traveling fan base is changed for the better? No it won’t.

    The only other alternative is for Pitt dominate the conference outright!

    I live in Savannah and attended three Pitt games in person this season. And I would have attended any Bowl game that I could have driven to easily like Charlotte, Orlando, or Jacksonville. Sure I would have loved to see Pitt vs the Hoopies in an Orlando Backyard Brawl, but get the !#*!?! over it.

    Most ironic thing about all of the whining, are those protesting the most probably haven’t attended a Pitt game in person in recent memory.

    BTW, you all do realize that every ACC member shares equally in the Conference’s post season revenues, right? Would you rather be Temple, the 10-3 AAC Champs who are playing in the Military Bowl against a 6-6 Wake Forest. Yeah, count our blessings that we ended up in a Power 5 conference to start with. We could of just as easily be still rubbing elbows with UCONN, Cindy and Temple in the AAC as our alternative.

    So just take care of business Panthers. Fans, show up in NYC, put a whammy on the Wildcats & end the season with a 9-4 record. Period


  14. Doc – You make a few good points most Notable is that PSU and WVU and Temple and many other local schools should be in the same confereance vs playing all over hells half acre. When we joined ACC most of us knew the A south runs it and NC.

    Same as Big 12 run out of Texas.

    Imagine a PSU, WVU, Temple, Pitt, OSU, Michigan and Michigan State, Maryland and Cincinnati Conf. Made and Decided by people in our area.

    If we did exactly what Clemson did this year do you honestly think we are in the playoff?

    My answer is no. We would be ranked 7-10 and playing in a Warm Weather Bowl.


  15. Dr Tom

    Well said. SOP fans! If Pitt keeps winning and showing up in the top 20, they will start getting respected.

    New York during Christmas is freaking awesome.


  16. Dr Tom,
    Good perspective!
    While we’re not thrilled with where we are going for the bowl, we should win the game which will give us 9 wins.
    Hence, starting in the spring we will be deemed “the 9 win, top 20 Pitt Panthers” and no one but us will remember where and who we played in this years bowl! Which is a good thing!


  17. Dr Tom, last year they gave Duke the Pinstripe, this year UNC gets the Sun.

    It is just wrong. That had nothing to do with who travels better. Just plain southern favoritism.


  18. Some great posts above and something my mind is no longer capable of doing. but here goes:

    There are more then two trains of thoughts here. Not just did or didn’t PITT get ripped of but the double standard that’s so prevalent in the Bowl Selection theories. I posted before that AD Jim Delaney of OSU just a few short years ago sent a loud message to the BSC whining about how Conference Champions should be given a high priority in the criteria for the playoffs. Funny I don’t hear him whining that psu did not get in this year. (Not many dislike that psu as much as me) Funny thing is, OSU got an invite on both occasions. All this business about how most can just tell that OSU is the better team. Bullschitt. A terrible officials call on a spot save their season. How do I know this? I can just tell. See how this works. The changing of the goal posts during the game is what is happening constantly with the NCAA.

    Back to PITT and why the OSU/psu story is elated. Seems the exact opposite happened to PITT. Yes they lost to Miami but who was the higher rated team season end? I asked why didn’t PITT go to the RAB instead and the answer was, well PITT lost to Miami and VT. Wait…I was told this didn’t matter. it was who had the best record and ranking? WTF…

    Now I can see the ACC made a very concerted effort to keep teams closer to their campuses but no thanks. I’m tired of PITT working hard all year to play a team of lesser quality for their reward for having a great season.

    VT didn’t receive the hardest screwing in the rear door for sure

    PITT traveled really well last year but it will take a few years of doing that to change popular opinion.

    If anyone cares that’s in charge, shouldn’t they want hard facts to make decisions? What one thinks is not necessarily the gospel. Take away the subjectivity and please come up with a way better system so I don’t have to cry and whine like Jim Delaney……ike



  19. I was hoping for a Pitt v WVU match-up but that was never going to happen. I went to grad school at U of Colorado and was hoping for a CU v PSU match-up. Would have been cool to beat PSU twice in one season! CU’s strength is the defensive backs and linebackers and they would have matched up well against PSU. Pitt’s senior leadership (and last year’s blowout against Navy) should help to get us ready to play NW. Nine wins would be nice!


  20. BTW, glad Paul Chryst lost and PSU got screwed on the playoffs!

    Conference champs should automatically go to the final four. Why even have the conference championship games?


  21. Barvo – @ 8:49am – I have not read one posting in the last two days that has a Pitt fan complaining about a higher ranking? Did you make that up? If anything Pitt should not be higher than UNC and Miami (same records and Pitt lost to both).

    Regarding Wisconsin’s D – rocky @ 10:27am makes a great point and here is another:

    The badger DB’s are coached by a guy who NEVER coached before this season. Sounds like a Paul Chryst hire, doesn’t it. The DB’s of Wisconsin got torched by penn state and 54th ranked QB McSwirly.

    The Wisconsin wins are against poor passing teams – LSU, Iowa and Nebraska were ranked (but still poor passing teams). Then there is Akron (zip), Georgia State (D2), MSU (down year with no QB), NW (6-6 who averages 25 per game), Illinois, Purdue and Minnesota.

    On a lighter penn state note: several of my co-workers made the trip to Indy – they have all complained this morning how they (pedo enablers) got sc#w#d by the selection committee. I wore a Pitt shirt and my production mgr wore his Michigan shirt – we both smiled and reminded them they should have won one more game – the committee got it right. Three (1) loss teams and one no loss team.


  22. Those who feel lukewarm to the NYC venue & feel that Pitt won’t travel well there are sorely mistaken.

    This will be a sellout Bowl and Panther Nation will be represented better than many anticipate. Two reasons for this, 1) there are a lot of Panther Alumni in the tristate area of eastern PA, NJ & NY that will show for the game, even without the help of a convoy of Yinzers showing up from western PA. 2) The Conner Factor! James Conner has become a driving force for the program this year, just as I anticipated during my preseason speculation. His leadership difinitely contributed to our sugnature wins for this season and his story has reached a national audience through the media, not only in the sports media but also on shows like Ellen DeGeneres and in social media as well. His is a feel good story of victory over life endangering illness. Not only did Conner conduct himself personally in the appropriate manner to deserve the attention that he has subsequently received but he unselfishly took his unfortunate curcumstances and turned that situation on it’s own head by becoming an inspiration to others battling their own cancer challenges.

    I showed up for the Villanova game simply to pay my respects to the guy’s perseverance to overcome the huge encumbrances that were thrown in his path over the previous year & I was not disappointed. There will be many a ticket purchased for the Pinstripe Bowl by those fans of Conner who just want to see him perform in person too, while concluding his comeback fairly tail story from cancer, in what most likely will be his final collegiate game. Oh, & BTW, the guy is a Beast Mode RB to begin with, so who doesn’t want to see a guy like that in the 1st. place?

    I’ve been carrying Coach Narduzzi’s water ever since he went on his Panther Prowl Tour immediately after his hiring. This guy is bringing Pitt back to national prominence soon enough. News coverage in the big Apple for this Bowl will be good PR for the program IF, IF, IF we take care of business and beat Norhwestern. Time to focus on our biggest game of the season, our next one.

    & @ Upittbaseball, you’re way off base (pun intended) because if/when Pitt duplicates what Clemson has accomplished over the last two 2015/16 seasons, capturing the ACC Championship two years straight with two seasons of top tier elite season records, then just like Clemson, Pitt WILL BE in the CFP looking for their 10th National Championship, guaranteed!

    The Pursuit! H2P!


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