It’s not that the 45-29 loss by Virginia Tech at the hands of Pitt was a surprise. David, Will and I all picked the Hokies to lose big, and a whopping 85% of 1,234 voters in our game preview poll had the Panthers winning by double digits. The ending was not a surprise. However, the route taken to reach that end wasn’t one that most of us saw coming.
The Virginia Tech offense showed some signs of life, scoring 23 points (the other six were the blocked punt) and finishing the game with 403 yards of total offense. It was not a great performance, but there was improvement. However, it was the type of growth that I expected against the UNC defense, not so much against Pitt. I was surprised. Pleasantly surprised.
On the other side of the ball, the Tech defense allowed a running back that most of the country had never heard of to put up historic numbers. Pitt isn’t as explosive offensively as UNC, so I figured the Hokies would do a decent job and hold them in check for the most part before getting overwhelmed as their offense failed to pick up first downs. That’s not how it worked out, though.
The performances that we got on each side of the ball were surprising. On the other hand, there were some critical penalties and some clock management issues, which at this point I’m unfortunately getting a little bit too accustomed to. The clock management issue bothers me the most. How can the field goal unit take so long on that play? And did nobody (yet again) see that the play clock was running down? It didn’t cost the Hokies the game, but that type of situational awareness could cost them a game somewhere down the line if it’s not improved.
It was an odd game, all in all. It began with the Pitt crowd actually booing its own offense off the field after their first possession, and it ended with one of the most dominant offensive performances by a single player against the Tech defense in history. Nobody saw that coming after that first drive.
Alright, let’s get the ugly part of this article out of the way first…
The Virginia Tech Defensive Performance
I would like to say that this reminded me of the 2018 game...
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