Pitt got off to a good start against Virginia Tech on Saturday, scoring on The Opening drive on just six plays. It's the most efficient the offense had looked all year, and it only got better from there.was only the beginning as Pitt jumped out to an early 21-0 lead.
The Panthers did it by providing something that lacked in the first two games--efficient offense and opportunistic play on defense. On Pitt's opening drive, a six-play, 75-yard drive, Pitt punched it in on an 11-yard touchdown run from Ray Graham. Graham's score was set up by a 33-yard pass from Tino Sunseri to Devin Street. It was the longest pass play of the season, and also a good rebound for Street who has struggled with some drops and a couple penalties this season.
Jarred Holley intercepted a Logan Thomas pass on the next series, Pitt's first turnover of the season. Though they didn't capitalize on it, they continued to build the momentum. Rushel Shell entered the game, and carried the ball 6 times out of 8 plays for a total of 37 yards. Shell's workload was sandwiched around a 40-yard pass from Sunseri to Mike Shanahan--not only a career-long reception for Shanahan, but Pitt's longest play of the season.
The Panthers capitalized with a 13-yard pass from Sunseri to Devin Street--a pass where Sunseri put just the right enough touch on it, but also to a spot where he could lead Street away from his defender.
The Pitt defense wasn't done on the next series. Logan Thomas was intercepted by Jason Hendricks--a play where there were no receivers in the vicinity, and a play where all Hendricks had to do was sit back and play centerfield. Just like their first turnover, Pitt was unable to continue the momentum. Kevin Harper missed a 35-yard field goal.
The momentum did stay on defense, as Devin Cook stripped Michael Holmes of the ball. It was recovered by Eric Williams at the Virginia Tech 10. Graham punched it in 2 plays later from five yards out. Pitt led Virignia Tech 21-3 behind three turnips, and just 16 and a half minutes into regulation.
Virginia Tech would only add a 32-yard field goal from Cody Journell. Hendricks would pick up his second interception of the game, stalling another Hokie drive. Pitt outgained Virginia Tech 305-159 in the first half.