CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Darrin Hall must be a mudder.
In sloppy conditions at Virginia’s Scott Stadium on Friday night, the Pitt senior put the Panthers on this back, scoring three touchdowns to lead Pitt to a 23-13 victory over the No. 23 Cavaliers.
The win moved the Panthers (5-4, 4-1 in ACC) into sole possession of first place in the ACC Coastal Division, a half-game ahead of Virginia Tech.
Hall put the victory within reach with a 75-yard burst up the middle with 9:40 to play, one play after Virginia had pulled to with in a point.
Pitt then got a defensive stop on a Dewayne Hendrix sack and a 52-yard field goal by Alex Kessman sealed the victory.
Hall finished with 229 yards on 19 carries in his most extensive action of 2018. Qadree Ollison was limited after getting banged up on a second-half punt cover, but Hall was the more dynamic runner throughout on the sloppy turf.
In the third quarter, Pitt rattled off a 15-play, 84-yard drive, mostly powered by Hall, who capped it off with a two-yard score. The long Pitt drive took 8:40 off the clock and gave the Panthers the lead heading into final period.
That score gave Pitt the lead back after a controversial play had helped Virginia add three points to go ahead right before the end of the first half. With just a few seconds left in the half and Virginia driving, Pitt had quarterback Bryce Perkins stood up and defensive end Patrick Jones came in late to bring him to the ground.
There was no call made on the field, but upon review, Jones was called for a personal foul and ejected for targeting. The penalty shortened Brian Delaney’s field goal attempt to 29 yards, which he made to give the Cavaliers a 10-7 lead heading into the break.
Pitt scored on its first drive of the game for the second straight week, with Hall breaking away for a 41-yard score.
The Cavaliers answered right back. After a long kickoff return, Pitt was called for a personal foul, setting up Virginia at the Panthers’ 42. Perkins dropped back to pass and there was a miscommunication between Phillipie Motley and Phil Campbell in coverage, leaving Terrell Jana wide open for a long touchdown.
A week after giving up over 600 yards to Duke at Heinz Field, Pitt held the Cavaliers to 249 yards of total offense. The Panthers sacked Perkins five times, with Hendrix grabbing 2.5. Elijah Zeise, Rashad Weaver and Shane Roy contributing.
Damar Hamlin and Seun Idowu each had nine tackles to lead the Panthers.