An all-around team effort from the Pittsburgh Panthers on Thursday night was enough to hang on and beat Virginia Tech 21-16.
The scoring started with Chad Voytik's 53 yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd. Boyd made a great catch and avoided on the oncoming safety to run into the end zone without being touched. There was not much else going on in the first quarter with both defenses stepping up to shut down the opposing offense.
Virginia Tech got on the board with a 42 yard field goal from Joey Slye to make it a 7-3 Pittsburgh lead. On the Hokies' next possession, J.C. Coleman fumbled the ball which led to a 15 yard touchdown run by James Conner three plays later.
On the following series for Pittsburgh, Voytik threw an interception on first down, which ultimately led to another field goal from Slye, this one from 24 yards out. At halftime, Pittsburgh led 14-6.
Virginia Tech started out the second half with yet another field goal from Slye to make it 14-9. Once again, the defenses turned it up a notch and prevented anymore scoring from happen in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter witnessed Michael Brewer's fourth down pass to Willie Byrn go incomplete at the Pittsburgh 38 yard line, which was followed by a two play drive from the Panthers. Voytik scrambled for 49 yards to the Virginia Tech 13 before Conner finished it off on the following play to extend the lead to 21-9.
The Panthers attempted to build their lead further midway through the fourth quarter, but Chris Blewitt's 38 yard field goal was blocked by Dadi Nicolas. The Hokies used that big play to get their offense going. They drove down 80 yards in 9 plays while taking only 2:32 off the clock. Brewer hit Cam Phillips on sideline of the end zone to cut the deficit to 21-16.
The Hokies had one last chance to take the lead, but Brewer's pass to Phillips was broken up with a big hit on Phillips and the Panthers ran out the clock after that.
Michael Brewer did well with his arm by going 26 of 45 for 265 yards with a touchdown. He did not have any turnovers in the game. The Hokies found it tough to run against the Panthers, as they amassed only 26 yards on 22 carries as a team. Sam Rogers was the top rusher with 6 carries for 19 yards.
Cam Phillips was the leading receiver with 7 catches for 59 yards and a touchdown. Isaiah Ford caught 4 passes for 58 yards while Bucky Hodges contributed with 3 catches and 55 yards.
For Pittsburgh, it was not an impressive passing performance, but Chad Voytik got the job done with his legs. He went 10 of 17 for 92 yards with a touchdown and an interception. More impressively, he ran for 118 yards on 19 carries to lead the Panthers in rushing. James Conner had 85 yards and 2 touchdowns on 16 rushing attempts.
Tyler Boyd was easily the top receiver with 6 catches for 86 yards and a touchdown. Boyd also threw one pass, which he completed for 29 yards to none other than Voytik. That catch by Voytik was good enough for the second best total on the team for the game.
Virginia Tech (4-3, 1-2) have lost another close battle. Their previous losses were to East Carolina by 7 points and Georgia Tech by 3 points. Those two games were in Blacksburg while Thursday's game was in Pittsburgh. The Hokies will face their rivals in the Miami Hurricanes next week on Thursday night football again.
Pittsburgh (4-3, 2-1) ended a three game skid with their win Thursday night and will be rewarded with a second straight home game next week. They will welcome Georgia Tech next Saturday.