Pitt’s much maligned 2017 defense has seen some improved play in the last 2 weeks. After knocking off the Duke Blue Devils a week ago, the Panthers returned home to defeat the Virginia Cavaliers 31-14 yesterday in similar fashion.
Despite a very weak pass rush all season long, Pitt was able to hold Cavs senior QB Kurt Benkert in check all day.
It all started on Virginia’s first possession of the day.
After the Pitt offense went 3 and out on its opening drive, Benkert floated a 3rd and 5 pass to Pitt’s middle linebacker Saleem Brightwell who returned for it 16 yards to the Pitt 49 yard line.
That’s when the Pitt offense and emerging tailback star junior Darrin Hall took over.
First, sophomore QB Ben Dinucci found junior tailback Qadree Ollison for 16 yards to the Cavs 35. This was followed up by Dinucci getting chased out of bounds that resulted in an 8 yard loss to the Cavs 43 yard line.
DiNucci then went to superstar junior kick returner / WR Quadree Henderson for 7 yards before finding junior college transfer WR Rafael Araujo-Lopes for 18 yards to the Virginia 18 yard line.
Thats when Hall took over. He took the first hand off 4 yards to the Hoos 14 yard line, then he burst up the middle for 14 yards to pay dirt. Pitt 7 Virginia 0.
After Hoos placekicker A.J. Mejia missed a difficult 43 yard field goal, Pitt would punt on its 3rd possession.
This set up 6 play 21 yard drive by the Cavs. However, it would end when Virginia tailback Jordan Ellis was stuffed by the Pitt defense on a 4th and 1 at the Pitt 28 yard line. The Panthers would take over on downs.
Hall would ignite the Panthers offense with a short 1 yard gain which was then followed up by Ollison’s 6 yard...
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