Phenom wide receiver Jordan Addison was one of 16 Pitt players that missed Saturday’s game against Virginia Tech due to COVID-19 protocols.
But the backups shined through, with senior slot man DJ Turner stepping up into a bigger role coming through with 184 yards and a 64-yard touchdown to help the Panthers to a dominant 47-14 victory over Virginia Tech at Heinz Field.
Turner, a graduate transfer from Maryland playing on his senior night with the Panthers, had just 294 yards in four seasons with the Terps, but exploded for 184 yards on 15 catches, including the third-quarter touchdown that broke the Hokies’ backs and gave Pitt a three-score lead.
The fill-ins were the theme of the game, as Pitt was without three starting offensive linemen, running backs Israel Abanikanda and Todd Sibley and wide receiver Jared Wayne, but finished with 556 total yards, the Panthers’ highest output since Nov. 10, 2018, also a home win over Virginia Tech.
The Panthers also overcame an early allergy to the end zone, leaning on three Alex Kessman field goals to build a 9-0 lead, and came through with red zone scores from, Vincent Davis, Jaylon Barden, Kenny Pickett and A.J. Davis.
Pitt never trailed in the game. The Hokies cutting the gap to 9-7 midway though the second quarter on a 55-yard touchdown pass from Hendon Hooker to Tre Turner.
But the Panthers responded with an eight-play, 65-yard drive that was capped by an 11-yard pass from Pickett to a wide-open Barden, a true freshman from Georgia filling in for Wayne and making a big impact. Barden finished with 65 yards on five catches, second behind Turner among Pitt receivers.
Pickett finished with 404 yards and two scores through the air and one on the ground.
Game Highlights 🎥
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) November 22, 2020
The Panthers, now 5-4, have finished their home schedule. They’ll face Clemson on Nov. 28 and finish their season Dec. 10 at Georgia Tech.