Why is it that every time the Pittsburgh Panthers face superior competition, they seem to fold?
Last year, the Panthers were challenged by Head Coach Paul Chryst and responded with a victory against these same Virginia Tech Hokies. This year, the same Panthers looked lifeless.
The offense struggled, especially the line and rushers. The leading rusher of the game for the Panthers was Pitt’s Isaac Bennett with 31 rushing yards. That’s not all the offensive line managed to help screw up. Quarterback Tom Savage was rushed, hit and contained for the entire game if you don’t count the touchdown in garbage time.
The Hokies were the first team to contain Tyler Boyd to 20 yards for the game. Devin Street caught five passes for 104 yards, but this bright side actually caused a problem late. Street left towards the end of the game with a shoulder injury.
Granted, Pitt had a very tough task today. They were facing a battle tested defense with revenge on the mind. Savage who just got cleared from a concussion of his own, was running backwards the entire day. His rushing total ended up being -29 yards. Yes that’s right there is a minus sign in front of that 29. Yes he scored a touchdown very late in the game, however this shows how awful the offensive line was.
This game was a huge opportunity for the Panthers. They got shutdown against the Florida State Seminoles their only other true opponent and now they let another opportunity slip by.
The defense had the unenviable task of stopping Logan Thomas and had varied levels of success. With a sputtering offense, that is not good enough. Matt House has had varied levels of success as defensive coordinator but the defense was not the reason for the loss.
Not only is Street’s status uncertain for Saturday’s game against Old Dominion is uncertain as is running back James Connors’. Connor is listed as Bennett back field backup, however he gets the majority of the carries. His shoulder is the same one that was hurt during preseason camp.
The bottom line is that Pitt had an image to break, that they are ready to beat big teams and get a signature win. For the second time in two attempts this season, they failed.
Scoring summary Pitt vs Virginia Tech 10/12
Virginia Tech: Cline 27 yard pass from Thomas [Cody Journell kick is good] 10:11 7-0
Virginia Tech: Journell 48 yard kick 4:29 10-0
Pitt- Chris Blewitt 47 yard kick 0:14 10-3
Virginia Tech- Journell 37 yard kick 9:50 13-3
Virginia Tech- Journell 42 yard kick 3:36 16-3
Virginia Tech- Journell 23 yard kick 3:27 19-3
Pitt- Savage 9 yard run [2 point conversion failed] 2:01 19-9