Tech won the toss and elected to kick off. The ball was short, but the return was short of the 25. So far Pitt was moving the ball by throwing under the zone for 8 to 10 yard chunks. That’s Pickett’s strength. Pollard gave up 15 for an unsportsmanlike conduct to get Pitt to the 25. The Tech Defense had no answers for their quick passing game under the zone. Eventually Pitt stalled out at the Tech 15 because the zone had collapsed enough to bring up better coverage. Pitt kicked the field goal instead of going for it. 3 – 0 Pitt
So far, Hewitt looks to be out so the defensive line isn’t getting a really hard push.
Tech’s first possession resulted in three plays, 1 good, one dumb, and one too short of the sticks to be useful. Tech punted after a really disappointing offensive start.
Jerrod Hewitt took the field for the defensive line for the next Pitt series. Pressure up the middle caused Pickett some issues in delivery of the screen pass. It was close to a lateral. Pitt tried the same basic play and Conner made a beautiful open field tackle for a loss, and Armani Chatman knocked the attempt for a 1st down out, forcing Pitt to punt.
Tech tried a lame trick play, and fumbled. Then Chamarri Conner picked up the offense and picked off Kenny Pickett, which then resulted in an absolutely pathetic series of bad plays including a low percentage deep pass into the boundary, a dive play for three yards, and then a QB Power and QB Draw on fouth and 3. Tech turned it over on downs.
The Pitt offense chopped away but stalled out on the Tech 15 again. As the zone collapses the Tech secondary seemed to be able to get in and knock the ball down. Pitt kicked a field goal. 6 – 0 Pitt
The first quarter ended with the Hokies struggling to develop any sort of offense, at all. Pitt started the 2nd quarter hitting a 20 yard seam and the Hokie Defense beginning to run out of gas. Eventually the Hokies got a stop but too close to keep Pitt from kicking another field goal – this one from 53 yards out. 9 – 0 Pitt
Tech takes the ball at the 25, and for some reason Mitchell was hit on a Tight End seam after a wasted QB power getting something like Tech’s first 1st down of the game for the Hokies. Quincy Patterson ended up taking the ball for a while and Tech managed a first down on the ground with Holston carrying the freight. Then after Hoffman get hit with a personal foul penalty and 2nd and 25 the Tech run game just keeps going nowhere. The drive completely stalled out at the Pitt 48 forcing Bradburn to come in to pin Pitt inside the 10.
So, Virginia Tech tanked another opportunity, and punted. This time, Oscar Bradburn had an opportunity to dump the ball deep into Pitt territory, and Justin Hamilton’s high pressure rushes caused Pitt’s offense to stall out 2 yards short of the sticks. Pitt punted, and Tech got the ball back at their 45. Instead of tanking a play into the line of scrimmage, Hendon Hooker rolled out to the right and hit Tre Turner with a picture perfect touchdown bomb. 9 – 7 Pitt
Then Pitt took a drive down the field for 75 yards on short and intermediate passes with very poor tackling on the back side by Tech’s too loose zone. Pitt scored a touchdown with a short 2 yard run. 16 – 7 Pitt
Tech started a drive with some slow developing plays, and then sandlot happened. Hooker hit Mitchell up the seam for a bunch, then after a tanked run, hit Tayvion for a critical first down. Hooker eventually hit Tre Turner in the end zone for a Tech touchdown. 16 – 14 Pitt
So, after a bad kickoff and penalty for the ball right down the field, under the soft zone with nearly no pressure on Pickett, 8 to 10 yards at a time until they scored a touchdown on a 10 yard pass. 23 – 14 Pitt
With less than 2 minutes left in the half, Tech needed to at least get a first down to keep Pitt from trying to put more points up. But an incomplete pass and two patterns short of the line to gain (one complete one incomplete) ended with a 4th and 1 deep in Tech territory. Tech tried the old trick to draw the Panthers offside. It failed and Bradburn kicked to put Pitt on it’s 29.
The end of the half was a trade of halted drive attempts with Pitt going no where and Tech going nowhere, either.
The teams ran off the field with one bit of news, Pickett looked like he smacked his hand on a helmet during hard rush. We’ll see how that comes out.