After two games in which Pitt looked borderline uncompetitive, the Panthers rebounded behind a solid defensive effort, dynamic rushing combo and quarterback Tino Sunseri to upset No. 13 Virginia Tech by a 35-17 score.
The game was never in doubt for the Panthers, who amassed 537 total yards and jumped out to a 21-3 halftime lead. Ray Graham led the charge with two rushing touchdowns in the first half to complement Sunseri’s first touchdown pass of the day. Sunseri continued his progression as a passer, finishing with 283 yards and three touchdowns.
As a whole, this was the kind of effort that was expected of a Paul Chryst-coached offense. The Panthers rolled up 254 yards of rushing offense, led by freshman Rushel Shell’s game-high 153 yards.
Perhaps the biggest story was Pitt’s defense, which held the Hokies and Logan Thomas in check. Virginia Tech’s only two touchdowns came via a long special teams play and a broken tackle that sprung Marcus Davis for an 85-yard score. Pitt’s front kept Thomas uncomfortable and forced three first half interceptions; however, it was more apparent than ever that the Hokies are inexperienced at skill positions and that Thomas will need help if Virginia Tech wants to contend in the ACC.