Friday, November 2, 2018

Pitt and Virginia Battle in ACC Tilt

Virginia Cavaliers Athletics

First Place in ACC Coastal on Line for Pitt and Virginia



The Pitt Panthers and the Virginia Cavaliers will meet at Scott Stadium on Friday night. Friday night college football is a bad thing to do as you don't bite the hand that feeds you. Friday Nights are for High School games. This ACC matchup will have lots of drama and some pretty good football.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2.

LINE: Virginia -7; O/U 47

First place in the ACC Coastal division is on the line Friday night. No.22 Virginia hosts a Pittsburgh squad who scored with five seconds left to notch an exciting victory over Duke last weekend. The Panthers' offense finally broke out and scored their most points in nearly two years.

Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett has struggled under center all season. He connected with Maurice Ffrench on a 25-yard touchdown strike to provide Pitt a 54-45 victory over the Blue Devils. Pitt added a safety on the final play of the game for the nine-point margin.

The Pittsburgh offense rolled up 634 yards, including 484 yards rushing. That is the second most in school history. The defense continued to underwhelm, yielding 619 yards.

The Cavaliers posted a 31-21 victory against North Carolina last week. It was behind four total touchdowns from quarterback Bryce Perkins (three passing) to return to the college football rankings for the first time since 2011.

Perkins completed 18-of-27 passes for 217 yards. He added 112 more on the ground as Virginia won its third conference game in a row for the first time since 2011. The win allowed them to remain atop the division at 4-1 with Pitt and Virginia Tech sitting 3-1.

Pitt and Virginia Are Peaking at the Right Time



Pitt is 4-4 overall and 3-1 in the ACC.

Defensive back V'Lique Carter, a 5-9, 170-pound freshman, moved to running back and gained 137 yards on seven carries with two touchdowns in the first game of his career. Workhorse Qadree Ollison added 149 yards and a score on 18 carries. That pushed his rushing total for the season to 795 yards, which is third in the ACC.

Pickett has a 60.6 completion percentage, with eight TDs, and five interceptions on the year. He is averaging just over 10 yards per completion this season. He finished 8-of-18 for 150 yards (72 in the final drive) and two touchdowns with Ffrench catching a 50-yard scoring pass prior to the game winner.

The Panthers surrendered just 19 points in a five-point loss to Notre Dame on Oct. 13. They gave up 120 in the previous three contests, prompting coach Pat Narduzzi to sum up the defense's play by saying, "one step forward and two steps back."

Pittsburgh beat Virginia 31-14 last season and has won three straight in the series.

Virginia is 6-2 on the season and 4-1 in the ACC.

Perkins, who is a junior college transfer, tied season highs in passing and total touchdowns. He also rushed for 100 yards for the third time this season. He has completed 63.1 percent of his 217 attempts for 1,623 yards and 21 total touchdowns (15 passing). Perkins has only eight interceptions.

Olamide Zaccheaus has a team high of 56 receptions, 690 yards and six TDs. He collected 10 catches for the second week in a row and recorded his fourth 100-yard receiving game of the season. The output allowed him to become Virginia's all-time career receptions leader with 213.

The Cavaliers are surrendering 18.8 points, which is18th in FBS and second in the ACC. The unit is giving up 327 yards per game, and they have held seven opponents under 400 yards and all but two to 21 points or fewer.

Perkins (575 yards) passed Bill Dudley (469, 1940) and Shawn Moore (505, 1989) to move into second place all-time at Virginia for single-season rushing yardage by a quarterback.

Zaccheaus is the only active player in the nation with 2,000 receiving and 500 rushing yards. He is one of three ACC players to accomplish the feat since 2000.

PREDICTION: Virginia 28, Pittsburgh 24



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Next up:
Pittsburgh home to Virginia Tech Saturday, November 10
Virginia home to Liberty Saturday, November 10

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