Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Overall Game Grade: B-
Golson proved that he doesn't have a firm grip on the starting quarterback's job, but still managed to come away with his second straight win since returning from injury. Golson didn't play as effectively as he did against Oklahoma until mid-way through the fourth quarter and overtime, but used his legs to his advantage when the team needed him the most.
Golson finished the first quarter with 79 yards passing and looked like he was about to help the Irish pull away as the game progressed. Instead, he completed just one pass in the second quarter before being pulled for Tommy Rees. Rees started strong, but eventually was intercepted in Pitt territory. At that point, with two quarterbacks struggling, the Irish could have easily folded and watched their national title hopes vanish.
But then Golson, and the team's play calling, decided to rely on the ground game to cut into the lead that the Panthers had built.
After hitting TJ Jones for a touchdown following a questionable pass interference call, Golson compiled rushes of 27 and 15 yards to set the Irish up for the tying score. However, an interception in the end zone nearly ended any chance at a comeback.
Instead, however, Golson and the Irish responded one more time in regulation, hitting DaVaris Daniels for a 45-yard pass and then Riddick for a five-yard score.
Golson then turned to his legs for a two-point conversion, and again when he eventually ran in for the game winning score in the third overtime.
Golson's grades for the second and third quarters were both F's, and the first time his play was worthy of an A wasn't until overtime. However, as the Irish will likely agree, it's how you finish that matters.