Pitt defeats Virginia 37-7 with 28 first quarter points

Written By Kayla Sterner, Staff Writer

The Pittsburgh Panthers (6-4, 3-3 ACC) asserted dominance quickly in their road victory against the Virginia Cavaliers (3-7,1-6 ACC) Saturday afternoon. Within just 16 seconds of game play, the Panthers secured a 14-0 lead courtesy of back-to-back pick sixes.

Redshirt junior defensive back M.J Devonshire snagged the first interception and returned it 29 yards. The very next play, redshirt senior defensive back Marquis Williams picked off the Cavaliers and ran the ball 39 yards to clutch a two-score advantage. Those two defensive touchdowns makes Pitt the fist FBS team in the last 15 years to achieve the feat within the first two plays of the game. 

Junior running back Israel Abanikanda ran into the end zone for one yard to give the Panthers a three touchdown lead with 8:04 left in the first quarter. As the end of the period approached, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Bub Means grabbed a pass from senior quarterback Kedon Slovis and returned it 31 yards to boast a 28-0 lead heading into the second quarter. 

The four touchdowns within the first fifteen minutes is the most points the Panthers have scored in the first quarter this season. Both the Panthers and the Cavaliers were held scoreless in the second quarter, but Pitt found the endzone in the third to extend their lead to 31-0. 

The Cavaliers scored their only points of the game in the third quarter on a nine-play, 75-yard drive to trail 31-7 heading into the final quarter.

Redshirt sophomore kicker Ben Sauls hit two field goals, 27 yards and 39 yards, respectively, to clutch a 37-7 lead, and take home another victory.

The Panthers outgained Virginia’s yardage 397–144 and possessed the ball for 36:02 of the game compared to the Cavalier’s 23:58.

Slovis was 14-for-24 with 208 yards and one touchdown in the winning effort. Abanikanda led in rushing with 121 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries. 

The Panthers return to Acrisure Stadium Nov. 19 to face Duke. Kickoff is set for noon and will be streamed on the ACC network.