It was Homecoming and Pitt was cruising.
With the score 17-3 in favor of the Panthers, quarterback Nathan Peterman had a "what happened" moment with a gift-wrapped defensive touchdown to give a dead Virginia Cavaliers team life at Heinz Field yesterday. That cut the lead to 17-10 and made a game of things.
With a close score to kick off the second half, Virginia drove 47 yards on seven plays to start the third quarter. The Cavaliers were driving and the Panthers defense looked flat. With a 2nd and 10 play coming at the Pitt 34-yard line, the stage was set.
Virginia quarterback Matt Johns dropped back to throw and the Panthers dialed up a blitz. As the pocket collapsed around Johns, he tried to fit in a pass to Olamide Zaccheaus in the flat. Pitt linebacker Matt Galambos read the play perfectly and stepped in front of the Cavs' tailback and picked off the pass. Galambos followed a wall of blockers all the way to the Virginia 20 yard line for a momentum turning play that the Cavaliers never recovered from yesterday.
Two plays later, Peterman found Tyler Boyd in the end zone to put the Panthers up by 14. Peterman had a hand in both plays that made up the drive with a 12-yard run and then the toss to Boyd, who, of course, made a Boyd-like catch for the six-point play. There was a slew of crazy plays late that helped keep Virginia alive, but thanks to this turnover early in the second half, it was too little, too late.