Pitt Wins Coastal Despite armSTRONG Performance by Cavaliers
(6-4) Virginia at. (8-2) Pittsburgh
The Virginia Cavaliers travel to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Panthers. The Cavaliers got great news before kickoff as their junior quarterback Brennan Armstrong announced he was ready to be under center. The Virginia offense is a different animal with Armstrong playing. The Panthers are looking to wrap up a Coastal title with a win today, in Kenny Pickett’s last home game as a Panther.
The game would not start out so smoothly for the Panthers defense as junior SirVocea Dennis would be flagged for a personal foul and targeting that would not only keep Virginia’s drive going, but also eject Dennis for the rest of the contest. Brennan Armstrong would dink and dunk down the field (which was a common theme in the first half) and hit Keytaon Thompson for a 3-yard touchdown strike to give Virginia a 7-0 lead. Pitt would start to move the ball on their first possession but Kenny Pickett would be sacked on third down, and the Panthers would punt the ball back to the Cavaliers. Virginia would drive into Panthers territory but eventually be shut down and punt the ball back to the Panthers. Pitt would get a nice run by Vincent Davis of 23 yards, and Kenny Pickett would hit 3 different targets to move the ball into Cavaliers territory as the first quarter came to an end.
Kenny Pickett completed the 88 yard drive with an 11-yard catch and throw to Jordan Addison to tie the game at 7-7. Pitt’s defense would somewhat come awake as Calijah Kancey sacked Armstrong on a big 3rd and 2. Kenny Pickett and the Pitt offense would continue moving the ball, and on a 4th and 4 from the Cavaliers 18, Pickett would break a potential sack, roll out and hit Jordan Addison in the back of the endzone to give Pitt a 14-7 lead. This drive by Pitt was 75 yards on 9 plays in 2:54. The Cavaliers, though, continue moving the ball behind short passes by Brennan Armstrong. They would drive down 75 yards in 7 plays, capped off by a 2-yard touchdown run by Mike Hollins to make it 14-14. Pitt would get a huge play from special teams as Israel Abanikanda would return the following kick 98 yards to put Pitt back up by a touchdown, 21-14. The Panther’s defense would come up big on third down again, as John Morgan would take down Armstrong this time. Pitt would once again drive into Virginia territory, but this time have to settle for a 36-yard field goal by Sam Scarton to give Pitt their biggest lead of the first half 24-14. Brennan Armstrong who had a fantastic first half would once again hit on multiple passes and lead Virginia right back down the field eventually hitting Jelani Woods for a 7-yard touchdown to make it a 24-21 game. Pickett and Armstrong would each throw meaningless jump ball type interceptions and that’s how the half ended. Pitt-24 Virginia-21
Virginia- Brennan Armstrong- 24-31 257 yards 2-TD
Pitt- Kenny Pickett- 17-24 172 yards 2 TD 1 INT
Pitt- Kenny Pickett broke Rod Rutherford’s school record of 3,679 yards passing in a season.
Pitt would receive the opening kickoff in the second half looking to add to their 3-point lead, but safety Joey Blount would make a nice play on the ball, and pick off the Pickett pass to set Virginia up inside the Panthers 20. The Panthers defense would come up tough and hold the Cavaliers to a 30-yard field goal to tie the game at 24-24. Pitt’s offense once again could not start up the engine and went 3-and-out to give Virginia the ball back, and with momentum. But a Deslin Alexandre sack, and then a combo sack from Morgan and Kancey held the Cavaliers down. Pitt’s offense would finally get back into form and drive down to the Virginia 34 yard line. On a 4th and one, Kenny Pickett would hit Jordan Addison for a 34-yard touchdown, their third combination of the day to put Pitt backup 31-24. Brennan Armstrong, just off an injury, played relentlessly all day/night and brought Virginia right back down the field. After Armstrong hit Ra’Shaun Henry for 32 yards, Keytaon Thompson scampered in from 8 yards out to tie the game at 31-31.
Pitt would get another field goal by Scarton to make it 34-31 at the end of the third quarter.
The Panthers, after holding the Cavaliers offense, would drive down to the Virginia 30, Kenny Pickett would leave the game after taking a hit, and Nick Patti would come in on 3rd and one. On 4th and one, Nick Patti would throw a ball towards Jared Wayne that would be called pass interference by Virginia. With Pickett back in, the Panthers would be held to 4th and 4 at the 10. Scarton would come on and make a field goal, but Virginia would be flagged for offsides, thus keeping the Panthers’ drive alive. Pitt would finally put a cap on this long drive with Rodney Hammond scoring from one yard out to put Pitt up 41-31 with 9:43 left in the game. Brennan Armstrong, who was the best player on the field, hit 2 consecutive passes, the second one a 39-yard touchdown to Henry to cut the lead to 41-38 once again. Virginia and Pitt’s defenses both come up big with stops. Pitt would take over on their own 23 and while trying to run the clock out, on a 3rd and 5, Kenny Pickett would hit guess who?Addison for the 4th touchdown of the game, this time 62 yards to extend it back to 48-38. Armstrong would do his best, with no timeouts to move the Cavaliers down the field again, but Pitt’s defense would eventually hold, and ladies and gents, the Pitt Panthers are the champions of the Coastal Division.
Wasn’t the prettiest game played, but Pitt’s defense once again proved they cannot stop a competent passer. Brennan Armstrong shred the Pitt D from snap one of the game. The defensive adjustments just weren’t made. Pitt relies a ton on pass rush. But a win is a win. 9-2. Coastal Champs
Kenny Pickett- 26-41 340 yards 4TD 2 INT
Vincent Davis- 12 carries 100 yards
Jordan Addison- 14 rec 202 yards 4TD
Brennan Armstong- 36-49 487 yards 3 TD
Keytaon Thompson- 11 rec 126 1-TD plus a Rushing TD
Dontayvion Wicks- 10 rec 133 yards