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GAME RECAP: Pitt beats Virginia 37-7 to become bowl eligible

Pitt gets the victory behind a huge defensive performance

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Virginia Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Panthers needed to take care of business against a lowly Virginia Cavaliers team to ensure they made a postseason game. They did just that with 14:44 remaining in the first quarter.

The Pitt Panthers took the first two Brennan Armstrong pass attempts back to the house to give the Panthers a 14-0 lead. M.J. Devonshire and Marquis Williams set the tempo for the defense, the front seven carried it the rest of the day.

In total the Pitt defense forced two turnovers, limited the Cavaliers to 144 total yards, and a whopping -8 yards rushing. The defensive front continued to attack and beat up the Cavaliers’ offensive line in tune to 8 total sacks and 8 tackles for loss. Calijah Kancey continued his dominant season with 3 sacks on the day. Each time the Virginia offense started to find some form of rhythm, the Panthers’ defense made sure to put a stop to it.

The offense capitalized on the momentum the defense gave them in the first quarter. Already up 14-0, Pitt was able to put together an 8-play drive that got going when Kedon Slovis connected with Bub Means for a 37-yard strike. Israel Abanikanda again found the end zone after missing the previous week to give the Panthers a 21-0 lead.

After another drive stalled by the Cavaliers, the Pitt offense went right back to work and picked up where they left off. The Panthers marched down the field yet again and this time the passing offense was the one that finished the drive. Kedon Slovis again hit Bub Means for a 31-yard touchdown strike to give the Panthers a 28-0 lead in the first that effectively sealed the game before the second quarter even began.

Virginia couldn’t get anything going and the Panthers’ offense started to stall in the second quarter. Both teams missed field goals in the last 3 minutes of the quarter to keep the score at 28-0 heading into the locker room.

The second half didn’t offer much as far as offense goes. After a field goal to put the Panthers up 31-0 the Cavaliers finally responded with points of their own. Brennan Armstrong was able to put together a 9-play 75-yard drive aided by some costly Pitt penalties to hit Malachi Fields for a touchdown pass. The Cavaliers had no success after that though and the Panthers nursing their lead relied on Israel Abanikanda who had another game over 100 yards rushing. Pitt added two more field goals in the 4th quarter to give the Panthers a 37-7 victory.

The win makes the Panthers bowl eligible, which at this point most Panthers fans will take. The Panthers will now travel back to Pittsburgh to face off against the 7-3 Duke Blue Devils for senior day.