Coming into the game we weren’t exactly sure of the status of Israel Abanikanda, well we now know his health pretty clearly. The Pittsburgh Panthers Defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies 45-29 with a record-breaking day from Israel Abanikanda. When Pittsburgh looked like they were about to let Virginia Tech back into the game after back-to-back touchdowns to bring the game to 31-29 with 13:25 to go in the game, Abanikanda ripped two touchdown runs in 3 minutes game time to ice the game for the Panthers and give them their first ACC win of the season.
Kedon Slovis and the Pittsburgh passing attack again had a rough week. The passing game was able to make a couple of nice plays but overall struggled to string together any consistency and rarely took any shots deep. At the end of the day, a win is a win and the Panthers will be happy to be 4-2 going into the off-week.
First Half Recap
When the game first started it felt like it was more of the same as the first offensive drive was 3 and out with three straight run attempts that went -4 yards. The second drive though, was what everyone has been waiting for. Slovis got into a rhythm working quick three and five-step drops to give the offense some life. From there Israel Abanikanda did what he does best and ripped off a big 38-yard touchdown run giving the Panthers a 7-0 lead. Down 9-7, the next Pitt possession was highlighted by mistakes. After a Flemister fumble that he recovered that left Pitt at the 10, Kedon Slovis threw an interception on second and 11. It was a slightly high pass that hit Bradley in the hands. It didn’t take long for Virginia Tech to make Pitt pay for that mistake. Keshawn King scored on a 19-yard rushing play to give the Hokies a 16-7 lead. Pittsburgh’s offense got back on track the following drive. A quick Abanikanda 28-yard gain set the offense up for a sustained drive. The highlight came on 3rd and 2 with Abanikanda wrapped up near the line of scrimmage, he ripped out of the defense’s arms for a 17-yard touchdown to bring the Panthers back into the game down 16-14. After a Virginia Tech 3 and out Slovis hit Bartholomew for a 24 yards gain. Virginia Tech held up and Sauls connected a 47-yard field goal to give the Panthers a 17-16 lead. The score held at that point into halftime.
Brandon Hill, Calijah Kancey, Habakkuk Baldanado, SirVocea Dennis all left at some point during the game. Kancey returned to the game.
Kedon Slovis - 15 of 27 for 170 yards and no touchdowns. Slovis threw one interception in the first half.
Israel Abanikanda - record breaking day with 36 carries for 320 yards and six touchdowns.
Jaden Bradley was the leading receiver for an injured core. Bradley finished with five catches for 66 yards.
Shayne Simon had two fumble recoveries on the day and Eric Hallett had an interception on a Hail Mary attempt.
The Panthers have week seven off, so the team will get a break before traveling to Louisville to take on the Cardinals. The Cardinals beat Virginia today 34 to 17 and will also have week seven off.