Panthers travel to take on 3rd ranked Hokies

Pitt will be looking for its first ever win in Blacksburg on Saturday and an upset against No. 3 Virginia Tech.

Pitt 6-2 (3-0) takes on Virginia Tech 8-0 (3-0) in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday in a battle for 1st place in the Big East conference. Miami is the only other team without a loss in the conference. Pitt defeated Virginia Tech 38-7 last season in Pittsburgh.

Virginia Tech is led on offense by what most feel are the two best running backs in the country. Senior Lee Suggs and sophomore Kevin Jones are outstanding. Suggs is 6-0, 201 lbs and is a punishing running back. He has rushed for 828 yards on 145 carries and 12 TDs this season. He averages 5.7 yards per carry. Jones is 6-0, 211 lbs and is lightning fast with fantastic moves. He has rushed for 704 yards on 119 carries and 8 TDs. He averages 5.9 yards per carry. Sophomore QB Bryan Randall seems to get better each week. He is 67 of 101 for 890 yards and 5 TDs this season for an amazing 66.3 CMP %. He has also rushed for 216 yards this season. Randall's two favorite WRs are junior Ernest Wilford and senior Shawn Witten. Wilford is 6-4, 216 lbs and presents a matchup problem to almost any cornerback that covers him. He has 19 catches for 357 yards and 2 TDs this season. Witten has 11 catches for 152 yards.

The Hokies have an outstanding defense as always. They are No.1 in the Big East in total defense and turnover margin. They average an amazing 40.8 average rushing yards per game! The Hokie defense has given up an average of 267.5 yards per game and has a turnover margin of +13! The VT defense is led by junior defensive ends Nathaniel Adibi and Cols Colas. Adibi leads the Big East in sacks with seven so far this season. Colas has an impressive 11 tackles for a loss this season. The Hokies have one of the best secondaries in the entire country. Sophomore cornerback DeAngelo Hall, sophomore safety Vincent Fuller and senior safety Willie Pile are all big time playmakers. Sophomore Mikal Baaqee and junior Vegas Robinson are two speedy linebackers who make a ton of plays.

Virginia Tech is known for having fantastic special teams. They specialize in blocking punts and field goals. They have blocked quite a few against Pitt over the years and the Panthers will need to be prepared for this.

Pitt will need to slow down if not shut down the VT running game if it is to have any chance to win. The Panther offense will also need to move the ball and avoid three and out series to keep the defense from getting worn down. VT plays a pressure defense and the best way to deal with the pressure is to play an attacking style. The Panthers will need to keep the Hokie defense honest with a nice mix of run and pass. Pitt has had a lot of success in the past throwing the ball against VT and they will need that to continue to have a chance of the upset.

Pitt has won 12 of its last 14 games and hasn't started 7-2 since 1983. In its last visit to Blacksburg, Pitt lost 37-34 on a late field goal when VT was ranked No. 2 in the country. VT is ranked No. 3 in the nation for this meeting, which is the 10th game in the series.


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