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Halftime: Hokies Trail Panthers Big

The FBS leading scoring Offense of the Pittsburgh Panthers started slow, but found themselves in the second quarter. Virginia Tech’s offensive woes abound.

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a windy and gusty day in Blacksburg Virginia! In the third of four consecutive home games the Virginia Tech Hokies deferred. Kenny Picket and the 52.4 points per game Pittsburgh Panthers offense started on their 25-yard line. The Hokies defense held the Panthers offense to a rare three-and-out. A poor punt gave VT excellent field position and they started on the 50-yard line, which Virginia Tech failed to capitalize on with their own three-and-out to open the quarter. The Panthers followed their short first drive with a perfect effort. After being pinned on their six-yard line Pitt drove 94-yards over 15 plays in 5:53 to find the endzone and take an early lead, 7-0. The Hokies connected on some passing plays to find themselves in Pitt territory but stalled on a failed QB sneak attempt on 4th and 1. VT’s defense did enough to keep the game within one score, during the first quarter, but Picket and the Pitt offense outgained the Hokies 114-53 yards and had eight first downs to Virginia Tech’s two. The Hokies seemed dedicated to the low percentage deep throw. Unsuccessfully going for the jugular, at least once, on each of their possessions during Q1.

The VT defense, with the help of a tripping penalty, were able to get Pitt off the field early into the second. Now, throwing into the wind, the Hokies managed to go three-and-out. On a 3rd and 4, a situation that seems perfect for tight ends, Virginia Tech decided to attempt yet another futile deep pass. There was a field position back and forth, between the teams, until disaster struck. Burmesiter threw an interception that put the Panther’s offense on the Hokie 30-yard line, setting up Pickett who ran it in himself. Virginia Tech remained ineffectual on offense while Pittsburgh added to their lead on an 81-yard drive that culminated in a 36-yard score from Pickett to Jared Wayne. The Hokies posted another three-and-out to close out their possession in the second half.

Early on the Virginia Tech defense kept the Hokies in the game, but the Pittsburgh offense found their footing in the second quarter. The VT offense looks as ineffective as it has at any time during the season, mustering only 74 total yards, four first downs, and only 12:02 time of possession. VT trails PITT, 21-0, and receives the ball to start the second half.

At this point, I will simply be happy not to be shut out.