PITTSBURGH — After a Week 2 embarrassment by rival Penn State, Pitt needed to make a big rebound in the Panthers’ ACC opener against Georgia Tech Saturday at Heinz Field.
They did just that, jumping out to a three-score lead and holding on for a 24-19 victory to start conference play with a win.
Pitt’s running game powered the first-half offense, with Qadree Ollison scoring on rushes of 31 and 8 yards and Darrin Hall added another 5 yard score. Ollison finished with 91 yards on 17 carries.
After looking harried against the Nittany Lions, Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett was more composed, going 16 for 23 for 197 yards, with the lone blemish an interception on a trick play at the end of the third quarter.
Pickett also survived an injury scare. He missed a few plays at the end of the first half with a left knee injury but came back in the second half, sporting a brace but seemingly unaffected otherwise.
The Pitt defense came up with numerous big plays while limiting the damage Georgia Tech could do on the scoreboard. The Yellow Jackets finished with over 300 yards rushing, but made it into the Pitt red zone just twice.
Pitt recovered a fumble, had an interception and made two stops on 4th down to help the Panthers to a consistent field position advantage throughout the day. Rashad Weaver recovered the fumble, his third of the season, which leads the nation.
Weaver, Hamlin and Quintin Wirginis each had seven tackles to lead the Panthers. Hamlin had two for a loss and Weaver had one behind the line of scrimmage. Quintin Wirginis continued his strong play with six tackles and a sack.
Option quarterback TaQuon Marshall led the Yellow Jackets with 103 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 28 carries.
The Panthers (2-1, 1-0 in ACC) will head to North Carolina next week. Georgia Tech (1-2, 0-1) will host No. 2 Clemson.