The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • 8:37 am

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • 8:37 am

Pitt football extends losing streak to four games, loses to Virginia Tech 38-21

Head+coach+Pat+Narduzzi+yells+at+players+during+the+Backyard+Brawl+in+Morgantown%2C+West+Virginia%2C+on+Saturday.
Pamela Smith | Contributing Editor
Head coach Pat Narduzzi yells at players during the Backyard Brawl in Morgantown, West Virginia, on Saturday.

Pitt football’s (1-4, ACC 0-2) woes continue as they lost 38-21 to a struggling Virginia Tech (2-3, ACC 1-0) team on Saturday night in Blacksburg, Virginia. The Panthers now have to wait until mid-October to get their first FBS win of the season, as they have a bye next week.

After one of the best entrances in college football, the Hokies won the toss and elected to kick the ball to Pitt. The Panthers started with three straight runs from junior running back Rodney Hammond Jr. for a total of six yards and a Panthers three-and-out.

After a 34-yard punt by Pitt redshirt sophomore punter Caleb Junko, the Hokies rebounded well after losing three yards on their first play from scrimmage. Hokies redshirt sophomore quarterback Kyron Drones took the top off of the Panthers’ defense, throwing a 54-yard touchdown pass to Hokies redshirt senior wide receiver Da’Quan Felton. Felton’s efforts gave the Hokies a 7-0 lead. 

But the Panthers quickly responded to the Hokies’ success with a 75-yard touchdown pass from redshirt senior quarterback Phil Jurkovec to redshirt senior wide receiver Bub Means on their first play of the following possession.

The long touchdown gave the Pitt defense some momentum, as the Panthers forced a quick three-and-out from the Hokies. But the Hokies returned the favor, forcing a Pitt three-and-out on its next drive.

On the Hokies following possession, they gained two first-downs but stalled out on their 48-yard line by the Panthers’ defense, causing another Hokies punt. The Panthers ensuing drive put them in a similar position, as their drive also stalled out.

With their drive stalling out, head coach Pat Narduzzi hoped the Panthers could pin the Hokies deep. But Junko punted for only ten yards, giving the Hokies great field position.

With the great field position at hand, the Hokies took advantage. The Hokies decided to run the ball all over the Panthers, gaining 43 rush yards and ultimately ended the drive with a 2-yard TD run by Drones. The touchdown gave the Hokies a 14-7 lead.

After the Hokies’ second touchdown of the game, the Panthers did not respond as well as they did after the first Hokies touchdown. The Panthers had their third three-and-out of the game, showing no promise on offense. However, Junko figured it out with a booming 54-yard punt.

With the rough field position at hand for the Hokies, they were stopped by the Panthers after two first downs. This caused another Hokies punt which only went 28 yards, giving the Panthers their best starting field position of the game. 

The Panthers then gained 37 yards all through the run game, but were stopped at the Hokies 33-yard line. Redshirt junior kicker Ben Sauls lined up for a 51-yard kick which had the distance but missed wide left, keeping the score at 14-7 

In the Hokies’ following possession, Virginia Tech was able to bleed the clock all the way down to 52 seconds left in the first half, leading to a fourth-and-two at the Panthers’ 28-yard line. Virginia Tech head coach Brent Pry decided to trust his offense and go for it on fourth down.

The Hokies then gained 16 yards, as Drones rolled out and passed the ball to senior wide receiver Stephen Gosnell. Drones finished off the drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass to junior running back Bhayshul Tuten, extending the Hokies lead to 21-7.

On the Panthers’ final drive with 21 seconds left in the half, Jurkovec connected on a 21-yard pass to junior wide receiver Konata Mumpfield. But the Panthers stalled out and ended the half on a failed Jurkovec hail mary. The Panthers entered the locker room trailing 21-7. 

To start the second half, the Hokies stalled out on a quick three-and-out. Panthers redshirt junior linebacker Solomon DeShields made his presence felt in the Hokies backfield on second down with a clutch tackle for a four-yard loss. 

Following the Hokies three-and-out, the Pitt offensive line fell apart. It started the possession by getting no push for Hammond Jr. on a run. Then the offensive line blew its blocking assignments on second down, leading to a Jurkovec fumble that gave the Hokies the ball on the Panther 10-yard line.

The Hokies didn’t waste this golden opportunity. Drones earned his second rushing touchdown of the game, breaking several Panthers tackles on his way to the endzone. Drones’ efforts extended the Hokies lead to 28-7. 

Just as the Panthers did early in the first half, Pitt responded to the Hokies touchdown with another long touchdown. This time Jurkovec connected with redshirt senior running back C’Bo Flemister, who evaded multiple Hokie defenders on his way to the endzone for a 61-yard touchdown. Flemister’s efforts shrunk the Hokie lead to 28-14.

On the Hokies following possession, the Panthers were given a golden opportunity by Drones. Simon — who the Hokies failed to block — appeared in Drones’ face immediately, causing him to panic and drop the ball. The fumble gave first-year linebacker Braylan Lovelace a perfect opportunity to get an easy walk-in touchdown, making it a one-possession game 28-21.

The Hokies responded by marching to the Panthers 45-yard line. But redshirt senior defensive lineman Deandre Jules did not let the Hokies advance any further, earning a huge four-yard tackle for loss.

This led to a Hokies punt, giving the Panthers offense a shot to tie the game. But the Panthers did not take advantage, losing 5 yards on a quick three-and-out. 

While the Panthers failed to capitalize, the Hokies did on their next drive. Drones found senior wide receiver Jaylin Lane wide-open for a 54-yard touchdown pass, extending the Hokies lead to 35-21.

The Panthers needed to respond to a Hokie touchdown drive. But Pitt failed again, as it ultimately punted the ball back to the Hokies.

After the Panthers punt, the Hokies started the beginning of the fourth quarter with nine straight runs for 54 yards. Then, after the Panthers finally got the Hokies to third-and-19, Pitt allowed  Drones to pick up a 30-yard pass to Wright, extending the Virginia Tech drive. The series then stalled out after this huge play, but Virginia Tech still converted a 33-yard field goal to make it a three-score game. The Hokies now led 38-21.

With six minutes left in the game and the Panthers down by 17, Pitt’s offense showed no promise, ultimately stalling out on a fourth-and-20 with two minutes remaining. 

 Virginia Tech bled the clock out and ended the game with a 38-21 victory. 

The Panthers will have a bye next week but will return to Acrisure Stadium on Oct. 15 for a game against Louisville.

About the Contributor
Matthew Scabilloni, Senior Staff Writer