Home Listless Virginia, after back-to-back pick-sixes, embarrassed by Pitt, 37-7

Listless Virginia, after back-to-back pick-sixes, embarrassed by Pitt, 37-7

Chris Graham
uva football
Photo: UVA Athletics

I have no idea what to write about UVA’s 37-7 loss to Pitt.

There’s plenty of low-hanging fruit – the two pick-sixes to open the game, the 144 yards of total offense for the Cavaliers.

There have been lower moments in Virginia Football history, even recent Virginia Football history.

The 56-14 home loss to Boise State in Mike London’s last season, 2015, comes to mind.

Anything from Bronco Mendenhall’s first season, 2016, which honestly should have gone on London’s career won-loss mark.

The 2017 Military Bowl was a low moment.

Insert any bad memory from a game involving Virginia Tech here.

Today is right down there with them.

It was 14-0 Pitt 16 seconds into the game. The crowd cheered Virginia’s third play from scrimmage, a no-gain run by Mike Hollins, simply because it wasn’t another pick-six.

It was 21-0 before the midway point of the first quarter, 28-0 at the end of one.

There was nothing at all redeeming basically from those first two plays from scrimmage on.

A good number of the supposed 36,000-plus on hand hadn’t even gotten to their seats, and the game was already over.

Brennan Armstrong was sacked eight times.

Virginia had a net -8 yards rushing, because of the sacks.

Sack-adjusted: try 61 yards rushing.


Through the air, Armstrong was 17-of-33 for 152 yards and three touchdowns – one to us, the two to them.

The defense put up what you’d want to think are nice counting numbers – Pitt had 397 yards of total offense, a smidge below their season average (401.4 yards).

But then, the Pitt offense didn’t take its first snap until the score was already 14-0 in the Panthers’ favor.

Kedon Slovis didn’t get sacked once. The stats tell me that the Virginia D had exactly two QB hurries.

There was nothing in the form of duress for him, for tailback Israel Abanikanda, who had a nice, easy 121 yards on 24 carries.

I take the earlier statement about there being nothing redeeming for the Virginia side back, because there was one thing, and only one thing: Malachi Fields.

The 6’4”, 214-pound sophomore had five catches on seven targets for 58 yards, including a nice 9-yard TD catch on a perfectly-thrown fade ball from Armstrong in the third quarter.

Fields looked as he’d been advertised the past two years, like a guy who can be a go-to guy at wideout, with size, speed, great hands, nice route-running ability.

Other than Fields, today was an utter embarrassment for Virginia Football, which drops to 3-7 on the season, with a home game against a Coastal Carolina team that I expect will be favored next Saturday, and a finale at Virginia Tech, which is now 2-8, and almost certainly will be looking at the game with the rival as a chance to salvage something from Brent Pry’s otherwise forgettable first season in Blacksburg.

Tony Elliott’s first season in Charlottesville, meanwhile, has become one of disillusionment and increasing disinterest from a fan base that sees this act as part of a couple-decade-long tragicomedy, and is tired of being asked to pay for the privilege.

Can’t blame ‘em.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].