It wasn’t pretty but it’s a win. On a rainy night where neither QB shined in the passing game, Pitt’s Chad Voytik used his speed and read-option skills to near perfection to lead Pitt to a 21-16 victory last night over Virginia Tech at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
Voytik tote the rock 19 times for 118 yards while only completing 10 passes on 17 attempts for 92 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.
After exchanging punts in the first two series, Pitt took possession at roughly the 10 minute mark of the 1st quarter. RB James Conner got things started with a 16 yard burst and the followed that up with runs of 1, 8 and 4 yards before losing 2 yards on his fifth straight carry.
That’s when Voytik found a streaking Tyler Boyd, who made an unbelievable grab, for a 53 yard pass play to put Pitt up 7-0 early. Boyd would finish the night with 6 catches for 86 yards and a TD.
Virginia Tech answered in the second quarter. At the 12 minute mark, Pitt’s Ryan Winslow punted a 47 yarder to Hokie Greg Stroman who returned it 38 yds to the Pitt 32 yard line.
After Va Tech QB Michael Brewer, who finished the night 26 of 45 for 265 yards and a TD pass, found Va Tech WR Cam Phillips for 5 yards and later 2 yards to the Pitt 25 that set up a a 42 yard field goal by Joey Slye. Pitt led 7-3.
Pitt then stalled on offense and turned the game over to its defense. On the very next Hokie series, RB JC Coleman was dropped for a 1 yard loss but in the process fumbled and it was recovered by Pitt’s DT KK Mosley-Smith. Mosley-Smith had a monster game and was disruptive all over the field.
Voytik then dropped back and found his favorite target Boyd for 16 yards to the Hokie 16 yard line. After getting stuffed on the first attempt, RB James Conner bulldozed several Va Tech defenders en route to a 15 yard TD to put Pitt up 14-3.
Conner would finish the night rushing 16 times for 85 yards and 2 touchdowns. He now has a total of 959 rushing yards and 11 TDs on the season.
After Joey Slye added a 24 yard Virginia Tech field goal at the end of the 2nd quarter, Pitt would lead 14-6 at halftime.
In the second half, the Hokies took to the air on their first possession. Michael Brewer found Bucky Hodges for a 41 yard pass play to the Pitt 9 yard line. Hodges made an unbelievable catch to put Va Tech in the redzone.
However, the Pitt defense rose up to the challenge and kept the Hokies out of the end zone. Brewer’s apparent 3rd down TD pass to WR Isaiah Ford was ruled out of bounds and the Hokies had to settle for a Joey Slye 21 yard field goal. Pitt led 14-9.
After a series of punts, Pitt forced another Hokie 3 and out at the start of the 4th quarter.
Voytik then put the game on his shoulders. On a beautiful QB read-option play, Voytik sprinted 49 yards to the Hokie 13 yard line on Pitt’s first possession of the final frame.
A play later, Conner again ran off-tackle for his second TD of the game to put Pitt up for good, 21-9, at the 13:44 mark of the 4th quarter.
After blocking a 38 yard field goal by Pitt’s Chris Blewitt to salt the game, the Hokies took to the air.
Brewer found Ford for 19 yards and then WR Joel Caleb for 15 and 10 yards on successive passing plays before hooking up with WR Cam Phillips for 14 yards for a touchdown to pull the Hokies within 5 points.
The Pitt defense held there and finally pulled out the 21-16 victory. The Panthers improved to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the ACC. The Hokies meanwhile fell to 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the ACC. It was also Virginia Tech’s fourth straight loss at Heinz Field after dropping games in 2001, 2003, and 2012.
Next up: Georgia Tech at Pitt, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh – Sat, 10/25 – 3:30pm EST – ESPN2/ABC Regional