Pitt running back Vincent Davis put on a career performance on Thursday night, as he racked up 247 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries to help Pitt to a 34-20 win over Georgia Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. The game marked the first time that a Pitt player accrued 200 rushing yards in a game since Qadree Ollison amassed a career-high 235 yards in Pitt's 52-22 win over Virginia Tech in 2018.
“Vince Davis had a heck of a day,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said after the game. “He ran like a big dog. For a little guy, that guy has a lot of power, a lot of quickness. ... Pound for pound, that guy is one of the toughest guys on our football team. He gets tossed around at times, and he just keeps swinging.”
Thursday night was not just the first 200-yard game of Davis’ career, but also the first time he ever posted a triple-digit rushing-yardage total of any kind, as his previous high was 69 yards, which he accrued against Eastern Michigan in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit last December. And even factoring in receiving yards, he had never reached the century mark at any point in his two seasons in Pittsburgh.
“Everything was just perfect tonight,” Davis said during a postgame interview. “The line came out doing their job, executing, and we just came out and took over.”
The night saw many odd occurrences, as the Pitt offense was uncharacteristically flipped to favor the run over the pass, and Davis emerged out of the blue to put on the best performance of his career. But beyond that, there were two brief blackouts in the second quarter that were reportedly caused by a nearby accident involving a transformer and the two head coaches had an icy postgame handshake.
All in all, it was a strange night from start to finish with no shortage of peculiar moments or memorable events. But the bottom line for Pitt is that it escaped Atlanta with a win in its regular-season finale, improving to 6-5 and helping its case for a spot in one of the remaining bowl games. And in the course of securing that win, Davis, a 5’8”, 175-pound running back, came 67 yards shy of eclipsing his rushing total for 2019 in a single night.
Now, Davis and Pitt will await an invitation for a bowl game, which may or may not come, given the widespread cancelations of bowls this year and the limited space remaining. And even if an invitation does come, it is unclear how Pitt will respond. Narduzzi has stated he is interested in playing in a bowl game, but it remains to be seen how the players feel.