Pittsburgh Panthers QB Tom Savage went into the locker room at halftime of the team’s bowl game against Bowling Green, but when the team came back out, he was absent. With the senior getting his injured ribs looked at, Chad Voytik stepped in to give the Panthers fans and coaching staff a glimpse into the future–and what a blinding look it was.
Voytik came in and played as if he had been the starter all season long, completing 5-of-9 passes for 107 yards, while showing off his tremendous mobility at the same time. Eventually, he would lead the Panthers to the 30-27 win alongside returning offensive stars WR Tyler Boyd and RB John Conner, putting a lot of pressure on the team for 2014 to perform at a higher level knowing that this trio would be returning.
But just like any great competitor, Voytik is using that positive performance from the bowl game to fuel him going forward.
“For me, the overall performance, it was just nice to get out there again and play because I hadn’t played in a serious game since high school,” Voytik told ESPN.com. “You kind of forget a little bit what it feels like and that you can still do it. For me, personally, it was very reassuring and kind of boosted my confidence a little bit in myself, just knowing I could go in there and compete at this level.”
While the injury to Savage was disappointing at the time, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the team and Voytik going forward to get that experience as they look to make their mark in their second season as a member of the ACC in 2014.
But for the Panthers to make that mark, Voytik needs to progress from that Pizza Bowl outing.