The Virginia Cavaliers fell to the Pittsburgh Panthers on Friday night 23-13 thanks in large part to Pitt’s impressive run game.
Virginia fans could have seen it coming in the first quarter after Pitt’s first drive ended on a Darrin Hall 41 yard run to the Virginia endzone.
The Cavaliers would respond and keep the game close until third quarter before a seemingly back-breaking drive from the Panthers. Backed up inside of their own 15 and facing a 3rd and 11, Pitt was bailed out after a horse-collar flag was thrown on UVa to extend the drive. The Panthers would go on to finish off a 15 play, 84 yard drive while eating up nearly 9 minutes of gametime.
UVa would respond with a Brian Delaney kick to cut the lead to just one at 14-13, but the nail in the coffin would come the first snap of Pitt’s next drive which resulted in a Hall 75 yard touchdown run.
Pitt would tack on three more points on their next drive via a 53 yard kick in the soggy grass of Scott Stadium.
While most will obviously look to the defense as the reason for the loss, losing three starters: Mandy Alonso, Juan Thornhill, and Joey Blount were all lost for the Cavaliers at some point during the game which put the defense behind the 8-ball.
Perhaps the biggest reason for the loss were all the penalties the Cavaliers brought upon themselves. After coming into the game averaging only four penalties per game, UVa was tacked with 10 penalties with 81 yards, and obviously none bigger than the horse-collar.
The loss drops UVa to 6-3 on the season with Liberty on deck next weekend. Obviously not many expected this team to reach 7 wins this season, so it is obviously a successful season, but after being ranked for the first time since 2011 this week, a loss to Pitt is deeply disappointing.
The good news is UVa is not eliminated from the Coastal race just yet. They will have to beat VT and Georgia Tech on the road over the final two weeks of the season, but if Pitt drops two of their games to VT, Wake Forest, or Miami, the Hoos would still be in business.