Catching Up with College Football: Pitt improves 5-1 with win against Virginia Tech Hokies

Written By Antonio Rossetti, Co-Sports Editor

On Oct. 16, 2021, the Pitt Panthers continued their season on the road at Lane Stadium against the Virginia Tech Hokies. This is Pitt’s second conference game of the season. Both the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Penn State Nittany Lions had bye weeks.

This column will recap the results of the Panther’s sixth game of the season and will also look ahead to Penn State and West Virginia’s upcoming matchups.


The Pitt Panthers played against the Virginia Tech Hokies for their second ACC game. In their last matchup on Nov. 21, 2020 against the Hokies, the Panthers won at home 47-14. Pitt tallied 556 total yards in a dominant performance. However, their last game on the road at Lane Stadium was on Nov. 23, 2019 where they lost 28-0.

Pitt entered the game with a 4-1 record, coming off a bye week. Their last game was on the road against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets where they won in a blowout victory, 52-21. In their last performance, the Panthers had 580 total yards.

The Hokies entered the game with a 3-2 record. Last week, Virginia Tech lost to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a heartbreaking 32-29 loss.

Pitt received the ball to begin the game. Virginia Tech would force the Panthers to punt. The Hokies were also unsuccessful on their first drive. This led to a 15 play, 94-yard drive for the Panthers that was capped off with a touchdown. Their first touchdown was an 8-yard pass from senior quarterback Kenny Pickett to freshman tight end Gavin Bartholomew.

The Pitt defense would be the difference maker in the first half. On the Hokies’ next drive, the Panthers would stop them on 4th and 1, turning them over on downs.

Halfway through the second quarter, Pitt junior defensive back Erick Hallett intercepted a Braxton Burmeister pass. This was his first interception of the season.

On Pitt’s following possession after the interception, Kenny Pickett scrambled 3 yards for another Pitt Panther touchdown. The drive was a 4 play, 29-yard drive.

With less than two minutes in the third quarter, Pickett would connect with junior wide receiver Jared Wayne on a wheel route for a 36-yard touchdown pass. This was Wayne’s first receiving touchdown of the season. The Panthers led at halftime 21-0.

In the beginning of the third quarter, Pitt would force the Hokies to punt. The Panthers would continue their dominance after a 5-yard touchdown run for junior running back Vincent Davis, extending the lead to 28 points.

Virginia Tech would score their first touchdown, nearing the end of the third quarter. Junior quarterback Braxton Burmeister connected with sophomore wide receiver Tayvion Robinson for a 2-yard touchdown pass.

Pitt would win the game 28-7. The team obtained a total of 411 yards, compared to the Hokies’ 224 yards. The Panthers held the ball for 38 total minutes, which was 16 more minutes than the Hokies. Pitt tallied 22 first downs and controlled both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

The Panthers were led by sophomore running back Israel Abanikanda, who compiled 140 rushing yards on 21 carries. Kenny Pickett also had a solid performance, throwing for 203 yards, along with completing two touchdown passes. Pickett’s main target was Jared Wayne who caught six passes for 94 yards, along with a receiving touchdown.

Pitt’s defense limited Virginia Tech throughout the game. Their relentless pass rush caused Burmeister to only complete 11 out of 32 passes. The team had 3 sacks and 4 tackles for a loss.

Pitt’s win improves their record to 5-1. The Panthers crushed the Hokies and aim to continue their success when they return to Heinz Field to take on the 4-2 Clemson Tigers.

Penn State

This week, the Penn State Nittany Lions had the week off. Last week, the Nittany Lions had a disappointing loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes on the road at Kinnick Stadium, 23-20. Penn State led the majority of the game until Sean Clifford suffered an injury that knocked him out of the game. Their loss makes them 2-1 in Big Ten conference play.

Despite the loss, the Nittany Lions remain in the Top 25. Penn State is now 5-1 and returns home to take on the 2-5 Illinois Fighting Illini.

West Virginia

The Mountaineers had a bye week for week 7. In their last game, WVU lost on the road against the Baylor Bears, 45-20. Their loss to the Bears is their third consecutive loss, making them 2-4.

West Virginia’s loss makes them 0-3 in Big 12 conference play. The Mountaineers search for their first conference win on the road against the TCU Horned Frogs.