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Virginia Tech Blanks Pitt as Mistakes Pile Up for the Panthers, 28-0

A Virginia Tech running back throws off a Pitt defender on Nov. 23, 2019 at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Mitchell Northam / Pittsburgh Sports Now)

Virginia Tech Blanks Pitt as Mistakes Pile Up for the Panthers, 28-0

BLACKSBURG, Va. — It was a cold, wet, windy and dark day at Lane Stadium, and it was just right for the No. 25 Virginia Tech Hokies.

As the Pittsburgh Panthers slid into mistakes and blunders on the natural grass surface, the Hokies thrived at home. On senior day — and the final home game for longtime Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster — the Hokies weren’t going to allow the Panthers or the nasty weather spoil their party.

Virginia Tech frustrated and dominated Pitt on Saturday, and the Hokies won 28-0 in front of a large crowd of rowdy, proud and wet fans, who endured temperatures below 38 degrees.

With the loss, Pitt’s hopes of capturing a second straight ACC Coastal Division crown slipped away. The Panthers won’t be facing Clemson in Charlotte during the first weekend in December this season.

It was the first time Pitt (7-4; 4-3 ACC) had been shutout since a 2008 loss in the Sun Bowl to Oregon State. For Foster, it was the 36th blanking he had orchestrated over his career at Virginia Tech (8-3; 5-2 ACC).

The errors for Pitt began early and, like Jenga blocks, just kept piling up. They were down 14-0 after the first quarter and had just mustered up 10 total yards of offense and one first down, despite controlling more than six minutes of possession.

Perhaps the play the epitomized the day the most for Pitt was the first snap of their fourth drive. Before quarterback Kenny Pickett got the ball in his hands, the Panthers were already at a disadvantage with just 10 men on the field. Hokies’ linebacker Rayshard Ashby charged into the backfield untouched and sacked Pickett, but the quarterback fumbled as he was crumbling to the ground. Norell Pollard scooped the loose ball up for the Hokies and scored, giving them their second touchdown of the day.

Pitt didn’t put a drive together that went further than 22 yards until midway through the second quarter. Pickett completed two straight passes to cover 50 yards, and then a few rushes put the Panthers in a 4th-and-2 situation at the Hokies’ 10-yard-line. But instead of kicking a field goal, Pitt went for it and failed.

The Panthers didn’t come close to sniffing the end-zone again. Pitt was forced to punt nine times, was 3-of-15 on third down conversions and converted zero fourth downs on three tries. The Panthers were also penalized 10 times for 67 yards.

Pickett completed just 10-of-26 passes for 103 yards. Trailing by four touchdowns with about six minuted left in the fourth quarter, he was relieved at quarterback by redshirt freshman Nick Patti.

To make matters worse for Pitt, redshirt sophomore safety Paris Ford was ejected for the second time this season after being flagged for targeting in the fourth quarter. It’s the fourth time this season a Pitt player has picked up a targeting foul. Ford will miss the first half of next week’s regular season finale vs. Boston College.

The Hokies were powered on offense by Hendon Hooker, who completed 10-of-13 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 27 yards.

Virginia Tech will play for the Coastal Division title next weekend in its annual meeting with in-state rival Virginia. Pitt will look to finish its regular season strong against the Eagles at home.

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TSD2007
TSD2007
6 months ago

Narduzzi stinks. And we’re stuck with him. He’s an average, to below-average coach. The body language today was awful. The offense only having 10 players on the field, and having to burn a TO early in the 2nd half, 2 minutes after halftime, its just terrible. They should have pulled Pickett for a few series in the 2nd quarter. His fumble was terrible. About a dozen drops. These kids read their headlines and start thinking they’re AB or something. Terrible game plan again. Virginia Tech was schemed and prepped today. Terrible execution. Uluzio with yet more penalties on the OL.Another… Read more »

Mike Vukovcan
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  TSD2007

Other than that TSD2007, how do you really feel? LOL. Maybe you need to start doing commentaries for us, you brought it strong.

Terrence Otoole
Terrence Otoole
6 months ago

What ashame for our defense that our offense is so pitiful everything about our offense is awful ,i do like duzz ,but this game is very inexcusable and it’s time for him to go losses like this is what has this program stuck in mud ,i would consider partridge as our head coach

Eddie Futch
Eddie Futch
6 months ago

Firing Narduzzi is not the answer. His recruiting class next year is strong. He only has 6 senior starters. The program is stable. That would be a terrible move. Remember the Dave Wannestadt debacle? With a win next week that is 8-4 going into the bowl game. With the schedule next year they could win 9 games. This game was terrible in every way, which is on him and the players. The players are just as much to blame. I have coached multiplesports at different school levels for years. Kids these days are tough to motivate day to day and… Read more »

Kevin
Kevin
6 months ago
Reply to  Eddie Futch

I agree 100% but he really needs to fire the WRs coach. All the drops this year are inexcusable. We have more in a half than most teams have in a year. Use vasoline on the balls in practice and squirt guns in the face while they catch the balls, over and over, and over. Our special teams is terrible too. Why don’t we put 2 deep to actually Catch a punt. Too many hit the ground. Our punt coverage always runs right by the punt returner, rather than stopping in front of him. Since we’re venting, why isn’t V… Read more »

Eddie Futch
Eddie Futch
6 months ago
Reply to  Kevin

The special teams have been terrible this year, which Andre Powell, usually does a good job having them ready. The wideouts are very talented. I think it is a lack of aggression and concentration on the drops. The penalties have been a problem all year. That is on the players and coaches. That comes down to lack of technique and concentration. This is a young team. I still think they have a higher ceiling and you will see that more next year. This game really sucked and was disappointing, but I think they win next week and finish 8-4, which… Read more »

Terrence Otoole
Terrence Otoole
6 months ago
Reply to  Kevin

There not going to fire beatty he’s one of the better recruiters on the staff

Mike Vukovcan
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  Kevin

Sorry Kevin but you lost me with bringing up firing Beatty. I won’t even comment on that. I agree about special teams regressing the last couple of years. As far as V. Davis not playing, I honestly believe they don’t trust any of their current backs to be 20+ carry a game guys. I love the toughness of V. Carter but he’s too small to be that as is Davis. As far as Davis, I haven’t seen anything from him in two years. This is likely a reason for Whipple throwing so much and that’s because they don’t have a… Read more »

Terrence Otoole
Terrence Otoole
6 months ago
Reply to  Eddie Futch

I do agree with you eddie ,it would be a bad idea to fire duzz for all the reasons you stated, i guess i was saying from an angry prospective,our defense is legit and next year it has all the makings of being a top 5 defenses in the country what concerns me is the offense ,especially at the qb, and rb positions everything kenny throws is 90mph fastball with no touch and you know there hard to catch with a wet ball ,i feel we need more of a duel threat qb like both Virginia schools it would help… Read more »

Mike Vukovcan
Admin
6 months ago

Appreciate your feedback Terrence….Firing Narduzzi isn’t an option. The reality is they need to get better players or the players that they have need to develop. Keep in mind and I’m not trying to make excuses but aside from Morrisey, this is the first year any of them started. The tight ends are just not good and the two wide receivers (Shocky and Jared Wayne) had no experience. Aside from Pickett, Mack and Morrissey that’s a very inexperienced starting offense. Once again, I’m not making excuses, just pointing it out.

Let's Believe
Let's Believe
6 months ago

Please elaborate on how Narduzzi has anything to do with his defense who continues to lead the nation in sacks, gives the offense great field position on several occasions, and the offense going backwards, how does that have anything to do with Narduzzi. His defense can’t score for the offense too. At the same time, a 9-4 season with a tier 1 bowl win is something to build on especially with that defense coming back.

Let's Believe
Let's Believe
6 months ago

I’ve never seen a team start more pregame fights at midfield than this Pitt team. Almost every game at midfield. Too many pregame shenanigans. But as long as they “got swag” right… Give me a break.

Mike Vukovcan
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  Let's Believe

I was wondering about that myself “Let’s Believe”

Section 122
Section 122
6 months ago

Offense is pathetic at least in the past when we had a FCS QB we had a legit OL and RBs to mask it. Now we have inept OL and RB to go with our Div 2 QB.

It’s a wonder how this team has 7 wins with the offensive “talent” that is on the field.

If that’s the offensive effort we will see next week and in the bowl game Pitt will be 7-6.

Mike Vukovcan
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  Section 122

I feel your frustration Section 122…I raised this issue a month ago in a column and I still don’t really know the answer and that’s ‘What is the real problem with Pitt’s offense?’. Is it mostly the offensive line? the running backs? or Whipple’s play-calling? I could make cases for all 3 but I’d lean towards the offensive line

Section 122
Section 122
6 months ago
Reply to  Mike Vukovcan

Buckle up for when Morrissey is gone b/c he is the only semi functional one of the group.

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