With Heisman Trophy finalist Kenny Pickett opting out of the bowl game, the Panthers are turning to junior quarterback Nick Patti in the Peach Bowl.

Patti will have big shoes to fill, as Pickett set several ACC and program records this season. He enters this game with just 62 career pass attempts.

Here’s 3 things to know about Patti going into the Peach Bowl:

Experienced back-up

Patti has been there for most of the Pickett era at Pitt. He’s served as the Panthers’ backup quarterback since 2019 and has patiently waited for his chance in the spotlight. For his career, he’s completed 64.5 percent of his passes for 458 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. This season, he’s 12-of-14 for 140 yards.

Watch for the ground game

Like Pickett, Patti has some athleticism. He has three rushing touchdowns in his Pitt career on just 47 career rushes. His latest rushing TD came against UMass earlier this season. He’s still a pass-first quarterback — that touchdown was his only rushing attempt this year — but it’s something to look out for vs. Michigan State.

Audition for 2022?

This is Patti’s chance to put himself on the radar for 2022 and beyond. Pitt has already landed USC transfer quarterback Kedon Slovis this offseason, who will presumably be the starter in 2022. But perhaps Patti still has a chance to create a quarterback competition this offseason or possibly impress other coaches around the country if he intends to enter the transfer portal. Regardless, this bowl game is an important showcase for his future.

Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET on Thursday night.