Make room, Ted Brown, and you too, Wally Lundy. Pitt's James Conner is making his mark on the ACC record books.
The Panthers running back — who has already written an epic story in his return from Hodgkin's lymphoma and a knee injury — added to it as he scored on two 1-yard runs in Saturday's 56-14 win over Duke. Conner's first score tied the conference rushing touchdown record of 49 set by NC State's Ted Brown (1975-78), and the second broke the total TD mark of 52 held by Virginia's Wally Lundy (2002-05).
If the fight back from cancer weren't enough, consider this. Brown set his mark in 43 games and Lundy's was in 49. Conner surpassed them both in 37, as he tore the the medial collateral ligament in his right in the second quarter of the 2015 opener, ending that season.
Conner's first score capped an eight-play, 64-yard drive to put the Panthers up 14-7, and then didn't touch the ball the rest of the first half after that record-tying score. Asked about the status of his RB at halftime, Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi said, “I don't talk about injuries, but he's fine. We're just being very cautious with him.”
Conner was on the field to start the third quarter, and on his first carry, ripped off a 23-yard run. He bounced up, and broke out his imaginary spoon in celebration.
He got to feed again, with his second 1-yard score earning his a spot all his own in ACC history. Conner finished with 101 yards on 14 carries and at 945 is closing on his second career 1,000-yard season. He'll . get a crack at Syracuse's 86th-ranked rush defense in the regular-season finale.
“He gave us a spark in the second half,” said Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi. “He's a beast.”