When the 2014 season started for Pitt tailback James Conner, all eyes were on the fact that he would play both on the offensive and defensive sides of the football.
As things turned out he only played one snap defensively.
That’s because Conner proved to be outstanding running the football.
Conner broke not only Pitt rushing records as a sophomore, but also ACC records on his way to being named the ACC Player of the Year on Wednesday. He was also named the ACC’s Offensive Player of the Year as well, beating out Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston for both awards. Conner got 16 votes to Winston’s 13 for Player of the Year, and had a 23-16 edge in the Offensive Player of the Year voting.
Conner is the nation’s fourth-leading rusher with 1,675 yards on 277 carries. He also ranks second nationally in rushing touchdowns (24), fifth in scoring (12.0 ppg.) and sixth in rushing yards per game (139.6 avg.). He also led the ACC in each of those categories.
While he was putting up monster numbers, Conner broke the Pitt single-season records for rushing touchdowns (24), total touchdowns (24) and points (144) all set by Tony Dorsett during his Heisman Trophy winning season of 1976.
Conner also set ACC records for rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns in a season, breaking the records set by Virginia Tech’s Ryan Williams in 2009.
It is the second consecutive year a Pitt player has taken home one of the ACC’s top honors as defensive tackle Aaron Donald was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year last season.
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports