Pittsburgh 38, Virginia Tech 7
November 3, 2001
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com
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Pittsburgh, PA - Still groggy from their home loss to Syracuse, the Hokies showed up at Heinz Field and were squashed like a tomato, falling to the Pittsburgh Panthers 38-7.
Punchless on offense and listless on defense, the Hokies were knocked out by halftime, as the Panthers rolled up 19 first half first downs, compared to just 4 for Tech, in taking a 24-7 half time lead. Unable to muster any offense, the Hokies' only score came when Ronyell Whitaker returned a blocked field goal 71 yards for a TD to knot the score at 7 in the first quarter.
The Panthers had opened the scoring with a 24-yard TD reception by Antonio Bryant, who caught the ball over the outstretched hands of Kevin McCadam.
The first quarter ended 7-7, and in the next 26 minutes, the Panthers hung 31 points on the Hokies to make it 38-7 with 3:54 to go in the third quarter. The carnage started with a 17-0 second quarter outburst that included a 33-yard TD pass to R.J. English and a 36-yard TD pass to Antonio Bryant.
Pittsburgh went almost exclusively with the pass in the first half, rolling up 240 yards passing and 286 total yards to just 67 for Tech. The Hokies were only able to muster one first down in their first five offensive series. In the fifth offensive series, with Pitt holding a 17-7 lead, Tech QB Grant Noel was sacked from behind, and he fumbled on the Tech 36. On the very next play, Pittsburgh QB David Priestley hit Bryant down the middle for the 36-yard TD and the 24-7 lead.
Penalties damaged the Hokies severely in the first half, with the Hokies committing 7 for 95 yards, including 3 pass interference calls. For the game, the Hokies had 11 penalties for 120 yards.
Tech opened the third quarter with a nice drive, but it came to an abrupt and damaging end when Grant Noel threw an interception to Shantae Spencer, who cut in front of Andre Davis, picked off the ball, and raced 68 yards down the left sideline for a TD that made it 31-7 and ended Tech's comeback hopes.
The Hokies followed that touchdown by trying an ill-advised fake punt on the next series from their own 45 yard line on fourth and 4. Tech punter Vinnie Burns was tackled on the Tech 33, and Pittsburgh punched it in from there on 7 straight running plays. The three-minute drive ended with backup quarterback Rod Rutherford taking it in from the 2 yard line for the final margin of 38-7.
There were just under four minutes remaining in the third quarter at that point, and the final 19 minutes of the game were uneventful. The Hokies played backup QB Bryan Randall in the fourth quarter, but he was not able to generate any more offense at the controls than Noel was.
RUSHING: Virginia Tech-K Burnell 9-27, W Ward 2-12, Andre Davis 1-3, Ferguson 1-2, Jones 4-1, Randall 1-1, Briggs 1-minus 1, V Burns 1-minus 12, Noel 5-minus 18. Pittsburgh-Furman 3-45, Polite 9-37, Kirkley 11-27, Priestley 6-14, Rutherford 12-11, Vaglia 2-9, Jemison 1-5.
PASSING: Virginia Tech-Noel 15-29-2-118, Randall 2-7-0-18. Pittsburgh-Priestley 16-26-0-245, Rutherford 0-2-1-0.
RECEIVING: Virginia Tech-And Davis 8-80, Parham 2-15, E Johnson 2-14, Jones 2-12, E Wilford 1-7, Ferguson 1-5, K Burnell 1-3. Pittsburgh-English 8-134, Bryant 5-93, Slade 1-10, K Wilson 1-9, Furman 1-minus 1.