UVA Football opens 2019 with 30-14 win at Pitt
Trailing 14-13 at the half, UVA held defending ACC Coastal champ Pitt to 86 yards in the second half, and took advantage of two Panthers turnovers, on the way to a 30-14 win Saturday night at Heinz Field.
Virginia (1-0) led 10-0 at the end of one quarter, but Pitt, after gaining just 13 yards in that opening 15 minutes, changed things up under new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, going with a no-huddle attack to try to out-scheme Virginia, and it worked, for a quarter.
The Panthers gained 164 yards on offense in the second quarter, and went into the locker room up a point on a 3-yard TD pass from Kenny Pickett to Tre Tipton with 38 seconds to go before halftime.
UVA scored on its opening drive of the second half, on a 45-yard Brian Delaney field goal, and then the ‘Hoos forced a Pitt turnover, with linebacker Matt Gahm jumping the route on a short pass at the Pitt 31.
Bryce Perkins and the Virginia offense took advantage of the short field, with a Perkins-to-Hasise Dubois 13-yard TD pass at the 8:23 mark putting Virginia up 23-14.
The Virginia D took over from there. Pitt was able to muster just one quasi-scoring threat in the second half, but even that wasn’t all that much of a threat.
After a Pickett-to-Maurice Ffrench past set up the Panthers with a first down at the UVA 29, Virginia held, forcing a 50-yard field-goal attempt after a Joey Blount sack on third down-and-long, and the kick attempt by Alex Kessman was wide right with 3:03 to go in the third.
Pitt made one other penetration into UVA territory in the fourth quarter, but a Blount interception at the UVA 38 with 7:40 to go ended that threat.
Wayne Taulapapa tacked on the final points with a 10-yard TD run with 32 seconds left.
Perkins threw for 181 yards, completing 20 of his 34 pass attempts, with two touchdowns, and also ran for 44 yards on 18 attempts.
Taulapapa ran for 66 yards on 10 attempts.
Joe Reed caught seven passes for 34 yards.
Hasise Dubois had four catches for 45 yards and the third-quarter TD.
Chris Sharp caught a first-quarter TD pass from Perkins.
Virginia outgained Pitt 310-263.
Zane Zandier led the defense with nine tackles, six solo. Brenton Nelson had seven tackles, five of them solo tackles.
Blount had the best all-around game on D, with seven tackles, five solo, two sacks, an INT, and a quarterback hurry.
Bryce Hall had six tackles, four solo, a sack and a pass breakup.
Pickett finished 21-of-41 passing for 185 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Pitt managed just 78 yards on the ground on 30 attempts.
Story by Chris Graham