PITTSBURGH — It wasn’t long before the Pitt Panthers defeated the Virginia Cavaliers for their third ACC win of the season and secured Bowl eligibility for the fifth straight season. After two pick-sixes and a strong day throwing the ball for Kedon Slovis, Pitt beat Virginia 37-7 and retired to .500 in conference play.
The Panthers couldn’t have started better. On the first play of the game, MJ Devonshire jumped to an out route and intercepted Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong. He returned it untouched, 29 yards to give Pitt a 7-0 lead. Armstrong and company immediately came out and threw another pick-six. This time it was Marquis Williams who weaved 39 yards through the Cavalier defense for a touchdown.
Pitt, already up 14-0, went on to mangle Virginia’s offense. They conceded a first down before forcing a short punt. Then the Panthers offensively drove 63 yards in eight games due to a 37-yard connection from Slovis to Bub Means. Israel Abanikanda capped the march with a touchdown to give the visitors a 21-0 lead before the first quarter was even half over.
Pitt continued pouring it with her next possession. The Panthers easily scored on their next possession as Slovis continued to dish. He completed three passes for 53 yards, including a 31-yard smack into Means in the end zone for Pitt’s fourth touchdown. of the first quarter.
But as good as the first quarter was, the second was a humbling experience for Pitt. The defense was still good, but in attack penalties and missed chances were kept in check. They frequently got behind the sticks and couldn’t reach the long games needed to get back on schedule. Ben Sauls also missed a 54-yard field goal to add to the Panthers’ scoring problems.
But Virginia couldn’t muster much either. They missed a long field goal themselves just before halftime and went into the dressing room with a 28-0 deficit.
Pitt returned to the scoreboard midway through the third for the first time since the first quarter. They drove all the way inside Virginia’s 10-yard line but failed to score a touchdown. They instead opted for a short field goal from Sauls and a 31-0 lead going 7-21 in the third quarter.
The Cavaliers responded four minutes later with their first goal of the game, a difficult nine-yard reception from Malachi Fields in the end zone on Armstrong’s pass. However, they still trailed 31-7, with 3:48 in the third quarter.
Pitt added another field goal after eating up nearly six minutes of the clock in the fourth quarter. They had to convert several third downs and a fourth down to get into the red zone before Sauls smashed through a 28-yard field goal. He made another 2:23 in the game to extend the lead to 37-7.
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The Panthers got another stop and fielded the second team, who promptly knelt the time remaining to secure a road win and improve their record to 6-4.
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