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Pitt

Peterman named starting QB for Pitt against Virginia Tech

Jerry DiPaola
| Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, 12:54 p.m.
Pitt quarterback Nate Peterman plays against Akron on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, at InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field in Akron, Ohio.
Chaz Palla | Trib Total Media
Pitt quarterback Nate Peterman plays against Akron on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, at InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field in Akron, Ohio.
Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman throws a pass during the second half against Iowa on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, in Iowa City, Iowa.
Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman throws a pass during the second half against Iowa on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, in Iowa City, Iowa.

The quarterback question at Pitt has been answered — for the moment.

Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said Wednesday that Nathan Peterman will be the starting quarterback in Pitt's next game Oct. 3 against Virginia Tech. But the competition at practice and during games hasn't ended.

“We will continue to go forward with him as the starting quarterback,” Narduzzi said. “He has earned that.”

Narduzzi suggested he could use former starter Chad Voytik in selected points of the game.

“I think Chad will continue to battle back,” he said. “We will have a package for Chad.”

Narduzzi praised Peterman for his play in the 27-24 loss to Iowa last Saturday night.

Peterman, a junior transfer from Tennessee, came off the bench in Pitt's first two games before he started against Iowa. In that game, he completed 20 of 29 passes for 219 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

“Overall, Nathan played a very, very solid game,” Narduzzi said. “Happy with where he is.”

Of the two interceptions, Narduzzi said the intended receiver (Tyler Boyd) could have run a better route on the first one and Boyd had his jersey tugged by cornerback Desmond King — suggesting pass interference — on the second. He also said Peterman missed a wide-open Boyd on the play before the second interception.

With the running game struggling against Iowa, Peterman helped pick up the offense, Narduzzi said.

“We were forced into throwing it, we threw it pretty good and Nathan spearheaded that,” Narduzzi said.

Peterman also led late scoring drives at the end of the first half against Akron on Sept. 12 and a game-tying drive with 52 seconds left at Iowa.

Meanwhile, Voytik played two series against Iowa, both three-and-outs.

“Don't count him out,” Narduzzi said of Voytik, who started every game last season and the first two this year. “He isn't going to quit. He is the best competitor we have on this football team. He's going to compete to get that position back, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

“We don't have a better character person (than Voytik) who understands the ball has to move down the field and plays made, and if plays aren't made, something has to be done.”

Narduzzi said Voytik was “clearly” ahead of Peterman at the end of training camp.

“There were times we thought Nathan would pass him, but he didn't,” he said. “Chad wouldn't give it up because he was fighting.”

On other issues during the off week, Narduzzi addressed Pitt's inability to develop a ground game against Iowa, rushing for only 55 yards.

“We had problems moving their inside guys,” he said. “As you watch the tape, we didn't move anybody. (Right guard) Alex Officer is a 330-pound offensive lineman who's got to get movement.

“I'm not sure our offensive line is being as fast and physical up front as they need to be and still know what they're doing.”

He also suggested Officer is competing for the starting job with Alex Bookser, who also can play tackle.

Boyd, who leads the ACC in receptions with 21 despite playing in only two games, needs to improve his blocking, Narduzzi said.

“He is a guy who certainly deserves to get the ball,” he said. “If he wants to be a top-flight NFL wideout, he has to do great things when he doesn't have the ball in his hands.”

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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