For the first time this season, the Pittsburgh Panthers were able to string back-to-back wins in the ACC. This was about as dominant a game as Pitt could have played, putting the Virginia Cavaliers out of reach in the first quarter. Let’s take a look at some takeaways from the game.
The defense played a complete game
You really can’t say enough about the Pitt defense against the Cavaliers. Calijah Kancey will be playing on Sundays, recording three sacks on the day. The Panthers in total had 8 sacks on the day and were getting pressure on Brennan Armstrong consistently throughout the day. The secondary was able to capitalize on these opportunities early, taking the first two pass attempts back the other way for six. The Panthers suffocated the Cavaliers’ run game holding them to -8 yards total. While there have been games where the Panthers’ defense was not able to hold that level of play there was no collapse in this game. The defense imposed their will early and took the spirit of Virginia away right in the first quarter.
The passing attack showed some life before the offense took their foot off the gas
Kedon Slovis and the passing game have rightfully taken a beating this season from fans and the media. Poor decision-making and an out-of-sync offense had been frustrating to watch at times. For the first two drives of the game when Pitt was trying to put the game out of reach early, Kedon Slovis and Bub Means were able to deliver. On the first drive, Slovis hit Means for a 37-yard strike that set up an Abanikanda touchdown run. In the second drive, Slovis was able to convert on 3rd and seven to Jared Wayne to keep the drive alive. On a 3rd and nine, Slovis was able to hit Means on a 31-yard strike in the end zone to give the Panthers the 28-0 lead that put the game out of reach. From there the Panthers didn’t attack much and relied on the run game to get them to the finish line. Still, it was an encouraging sign for the offense.
Penalties are not going away
As much of a blowout as this game was, there is always an opportunity to improve. The Panthers were penalized nine times for 82 yards and a majority of those calls were on offense. These penalties don’t impact the game as much when you have a four-touchdown lead against Virginia, but this continues to be a problem week in and week out. For an offense that relies as heavily on the run game as Pitt does, some of these penalties have been drive-killers. The Panthers have to figure out a way to play a cleaner game.
The Panthers finally dominate an opponent they should
After the massive letdowns against Georgia Tech and Louisville, Panthers fans really couldn’t take any game as an easy win. Even the game against Virginia Tech was close until the fourth quarter. For all the aspirations of Pittsburgh being one of the best in the ACC they never looked the part. Finally today the Panthers played like everyone thought coming into the season and dominated an opponent that they should have. The Panthers clearly are not letting the disappointment of the start of the season affect how they play to close it out. Pitt is starting to build some momentum which is crucial for the morale around the program to carry into their senior day game against the Duke Blue Devils.