BLACKSBURG, Va. — As Pitt wide Jester Weah rumbled down the sideline at Lane Stadium with under a minute to play, it looked for a fleeting moment as if Pitt was going to pull off an upset against Virginia Tech on Saturday.
Instead, Weah was caught from behind by Hokies safety Reggie Floyd at the 1 1/2 yard line and Pitt was stuffed on four plays from inside the two, the final attempt a Darrin Hall carry up the middle that went for a 3-yard loss as time expired with a 20-14 Virginia Tech victory.
Pitt fans finally got their wish, as much clamored-for freshman quarterback Kenny Pickett got his first extensive game action. The performance was a mixed bag.
Pickett had Weah’s long completion and a 44-yarder to Hall earlier in the game to set up Pitt’s second touchdown, but also threw a critical interception after Pitt’s defense had gotten the ball back with the team up by one and 9:34 left in the fourth quarter.
Virginia Tech drove down the field and scored on a 23-yard pass from Josh Jackson to Cam Phillips to give the Hokies the final lead.
Pickett finished the day 15 of 23 for 242 yards, one interception and no touchdowns. He was sacked four times.
Starter Ben DiNucci was pulled after three drives and an interception of his own. He finished 4 of 8 for 54 yards and threw a touchdown to Rafael Araujo-Lopes.
In the quarterback competition between redshirt sophomore DiNucci and true freshman Pickett, the answer might be senior punter Ryan Winslow.
Winslow converted a 15-yard touchdown pass to long snapper Nate Bossory on a fake field goal early in the fourth quarter after Pickett’s shovel pass to Hall set the Panthers up with good field position. Pitt lined up in a swinging gate formation on the play, with Bossory as the long snapper, but in an eligible position as the player farthest to the right on the line.
Pitt got the ball back for one final drive after the Hokies took the late lead, but ultimately fell a yard short.