Darrin Hall stuns as Pitt topples #25 Virginia 23-13
by Sean Magguilli
Darrin Hall stormed up and down the turf of Scott Stadium as the Pittsburgh Panthers rolled over the Virginia Cavaliers 23 to 13 on Friday. He rushed for 229 yards off of 11 carries and three touchdowns, nearly matching his three score and 254-yard performance against Duke last year.
He broke free early for a 41-yard touchdown run with six minutes left in the first quarter. On Pitt’s second drive of the second half, Hall rushed for 54 yards of the Panthers’ 84-yard drive and capped it off with a 2-yard touchdown run to give Pitt the lead 14 to 10. He delivered the back-breaker later in the fourth quarter. On the first play of the drive, Darrin Hall took it straight up the middle and all the way to the end zone for 75 yards.
Special teams continued to struggle on the road, missing two extra point attempts, the first of which was re-kicked after a penalty. Narduzzi reassured that the misses were not kicker Alex Kessman’s fault, and that they were the result of botched holds. Kessman had another stellar night with a 53-yarder in the fourth to extend Pitt’s lead to ten.
Kenny Pickett was not impressive from a statistical standpoint with only 61 yards and 7 completions, but he still managed to affect the game in big ways. In the third quarter, Pitt was staring down the barrel of another three and out but Kenny Pickett scrambled and drew a face mask penalty to extend the drive. He recognized defensive formations and adjusted his line to counter the Wahoo’s defense. Pickett truly settled into his role as an effective game manager.
Pittsburgh’s rush defense looked extremely tough as they held the Cavaliers to 44 rushing yards. Dewayne Hendrix consistently pushed the point of attack the entire night, and ended the night with two and a half sacks. Junior Damar Hamlin and Senior Phillipe Motley both had pass breakups in critical situations.
Pitt now sits alone in first place of the ACC Coastal with a 4-1 conference record and control their own destiny for the ACC championship. They host Virginia Tech on Friday, and a win would just about secure the division.