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Conner Named a Doak Walker Award Preseason Candidate

James Conner ran for 229 yards in Pitt's bowl victory.

James Conner ran for 229 yards in Pitt's bowl victory.

July 17, 2014

    PITTSBURGH—Pitt sophomore James Conner, the Panthers’ leading rusher last season, has been named to the preseason watch list for the 2014 Doak Walker Award, annually presented to the nation’s top college running back.

    Conner has now been named a preseason candidate for three different awards. He previously was named to the watch lists for the Maxwell Award, given to college football’s player of the year, and Paul Hornung Award, given to the country’s most versatile player.

    Last season, Conner led Pitt in rushing yards (799) and rushing touchdowns (eight), becoming the first freshman to lead the Panthers in those two categories since Dion Lewis in 2009. He averaged 5.5 yards on 146 carries in 12 games (missing the Oct. 19 Old Dominion game due to injury).

    Conner’s most memorable performance came in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl when he rushed for 229 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries (8.8 avg.). His rushing yardage set a Pitt bowl record, eclipsing Tony Dorsett's 202 yards vs. Georgia in the Jan. 1, 1977, Sugar Bowl. Conner also contributed as a pass rushing specialist vs. Bowling Green, drawing a key holding call on the Falcons' final possession, and was named the bowl’s MVP.

    Pitt head coach Paul Chryst has indicated Conner will play defensive snaps again in 2014. Describing him as a “throwback” player, NFL.com recently lauded Conner as one of the 14 toughest players in college football. ABC’s Brent Musburger nicknamed Conner “The Hammer” after he bulled for two touchdowns against Notre Dame. His two-yard TD in the third quarter tied the game, 14-14, while his one-yard plunge in the fourth quarter provided the winning points in the Panthers' 28-21 upset of the No. 24 Fighting Irish.


 

 

    (WATCH: Conner’s 2013 season highlights)

    Ticket packages for the 2014 Pitt football season can now be purchased online or by calling (800) 643-PITT (7488). Fans can choose from a wide array of options to accommodate as many different ticket preferences and requests as possible. Options include season-ticket packages for as low as $100, three-game mini-packages as well as single-game tickets.

Pitt Players on 2014 Award Watch Lists 


Tyler Boyd—Wide Receiver

Biletnikoff Award (presented to the outstanding receiver in college football)

Maxwell Award (presented to the college player of the year)

Paul Hornung Award (presented to the nation’s most versatile player)
 

James Conner— Running Back

Doak Walker Award (nation’s top college running back)

Maxwell Award (presented to the college player of the year)

Paul Hornung Award (presented to the nation’s most versatile player)
 

Artie Rowell—Center

Rimington Trophy (presented to college football’s most outstanding center)

 

—PITT—