In writing about “The Turning Point” week in and week out during Pitt’s football seasons, yesterday couldn’t have been easier. Safety Jordan Whitehead’s pick-6 is The Turning Point of yesterday’s 45-31 victory over Virginia.
Pitt had just tied the game at 28, with under one minute remaining. With two timeouts and the Panthers’ suspect secondary, Virginia decided to take a chance. It was one that they would regret. The Cavaliers drove to almost midfield, before quarterback Kurt Benkert looked to his right and tried the seam. Unfortunately, Pitt safety, Jordan Whitehead, was waiting right there.
The sophomore picked off Benkert’s pass at the Pitt 41-yard line and immediately turned towards the right sideline. Whitehead followed his blockers and made one cutback, inside the 10, and streaked almost untouched into the end zone. The pick-6 gave Pitt a 35-28 lead with only four ticks left on the clock before halftime, and Pitt received the opening second half kickoff, too.
It was the Panthers’ first lead of the game and it was one that they would never relinquish. Pitt has made the majority of their games too close for comfort, but today was not one of them. Whitehead’s play, just before halftime, seemed to take the sail out of Virginia’s offense. The Pitt defense stiffened up in the second half and the Cavaliers would never get closer than the 35-28 deficit.