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Hokies Stuff Panthers’ Bowl Hopes

Photo via Richmond Times-Dispatch

The Pittsburgh Panthers had their bowl hopes officially come to an end when Darrin Hall was stopped on 4th and goal at the one yard line with 32 seconds left.  The goal line stand by the Hokies sealed a 20-14 road loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday afternoon at Lane Stadium.

Saturday’s loss ensures that the Panthers will not be going to a bowl game since the 2007 season when Dave Wannstedt was at the helm. In the game, starter Ben DiNucci was benched late in the first quarter in favor of Kenny Pickett after he threw an interception to safety Reggie Floyd. Pickett went 15 for 23 for 242 yards, but threw the costly interception that led to the winning touchdown for the Hokies.

Here are the takeaways and observations from Saturday’s game.


No matter who was the quarterback for Pitt they did not have a good game running the football. Pitt rushed for 55 yards on 30 carries and could not gain one yard on three tries from the one yard line. The Panthers were 2 for 12 on third down and made critical errors such as Pickett’s interception at crucial times. Pitt simply could not execute situational football on Saturday.


The Panthers were not helped out much by their sputtering offense and only gave up 20 points, but the Panthers defense were not able to execute in critical situations as well. The Panthers allowed the Hokies to convert on 10 for 19 on third down and allowed 157 rushing yards.


Bottom line is the Hokies were able to make the critical plays at critical times, whether it be a key tackle by Floyd to stop Jester Weah at the 1-yard line to allow the goal line stand or the 3rd and 9 conversion from Josh Jackson to Cam Phillips for the winning score. That separates upper tier teams in the ACC such as Virginia Tech from the Panthers who will be sitting at home for the holidays.

Up Next

The Panthers will finish their season on Friday night at Heinz Field when they host the Miami Hurricanes.


About Brandon Walker (24 Articles)
<p>Brandon is a Steelers and Pitt Panthers contributor to the Point of Pittsburgh. He can be reached at @bwalkerdadon on Twitter.</p>

12 Comments on Hokies Stuff Panthers’ Bowl Hopes

  1. Henry Kassab // November 19, 2017 at 8:35 AM // Reply

    I can certainly see the fans frustrations but Browne’s injury forced Narduzzi into starting two inexperienced QBs in DiNucci, a sophomore, and Pickett, a freshman. Do you have any thoughts on their progression(s)?

  2. Browne’s injury was the best thing that could have happened for the future of the QB position. The offensive line has been abysmal and Browne had no mobility at all. His remaining healthy would have had no effect on their most likely 4-8 record. His injury allowed Dinucci and to a lesser extent Pickett to get invaluable playing time. Although I would have liked to have seen more of Pickett earlier. At least both will have had playing time in preparation for the 2018 season. My money is on Pickett being the starter, but at least Dinucci will have game day experience as a backup.

    • mark delsignore // November 20, 2017 at 7:29 AM // Reply

      “His remaining healthy would have had no effect on their most likely 4-8 record.”

      We are seriously looking at 4-8 with two of the 4 wins coming against YSU (an FCS team) and Rice

      Disgraceful. Absolutely disgraceful
      Sadly, is this the bottom? Have we hit bottom?

      I say we have not.

      • And I say that this is the natural result of a heavy graduation class last year and the several years of turmoil at head coach that occurred during the three years prior to that. There were some pretty empty recruiting classes in the intervening years. It’s all on Narducci going forward, but he didn’t exactly inherit an abundance of talent.

        • mark delsignore // November 20, 2017 at 4:56 PM // Reply

          He did not Bob and I am not laying this at Narduzzi’s feet either. I think recruiting top 25 talent at Pitt is going to be challenging from here on out. Forever.

          If I were the head coach, it would be extremely hard and frustrating to see the North Allegheny talent and the Pine Richland Talent ant eh Mt Lebo Talent and the CCHS talent etc. etc. go elsewhere and mostly out of state. Pitt will continue to get the SIngle A/Double A and Triple A WPIAL talent at best along with other smaller schools outside of Pittsburgh like Clairton. Big fish in small ponds.

          Playing in that cavernous NFL stadium just looks stupid also — and kids and their parents know that.

          Maybe Heather has something up her sleeve.

          • Given the explosive growth in public and private charter schools, it appears to me that a lot of Div-1 (FBS) talent is coming out places like Shadyside Academy, Kiski School, Sewickley Academy, Vincentian Academy, etc. Given the way that enrollments have shrunk over the last three decades throughout the region, there just aren’t that many AAAA schools to recruit from, so of course the cream of those high schools go the universities with the biggest football reputations. Penn State recruits well in the Pittsburgh region and yet they have lost what started out this year as a legitimate shot at a national championship. On the other hand, schools like Miami, which used to be a perennial contender, fell on hard times, only to come back as a true contender this year. Paul Chryst has Wisconsin on the very edge of playoff qualification. Frankly I did not see that coming. So I would say that while things look bleak for Pitt football in the immediate future, that is not to say that it will always be that way.

          • mark delsignore // November 21, 2017 at 12:30 PM //

            “So I would say that while things look bleak for Pitt football in the immediate future, that is not to say that it will always be that way.”

            If you mean that Pitt will be “relevant” again in D1 FBS play than I disagree with you. And relevance to me means legitimate top 20 or chance to be top 20 by the end of the year.

            No way. No chance.

            Pitt football is in major decline and has been for all kinds of reasons since the mid-late 80’s. Had a tad of a resurgence in the Walt Harris and Dave Wannstadt (sp.) years but just could not get “over the hump save for one major bowl game in 2005.

            Pitt Football, along with 100-ish other FBS schools, is destined for the bottom of its conference and exists so it can collect its share from ACC bowl proceeds so it can help fund collegiate athletics so as to spare the students from more increases in tuition.

            You might…..might….see another 8-4 season and I would not rule out one 9-3 over the next 30 years.

            Get used to 6-6 average with two of those wins coming from an FCS opponent and a Rice.

            Hail to Pitt!

          • Bob Stover // November 21, 2017 at 3:06 PM //

            History is not destiny my friend. I would not argue with anything you said, except that the institution is in charge of its own sports destiny, not history. Downwards spiral is accurate, but reversible if the commitment is there. Other than Alabama, who has been a consistent contender for national championships over the past 25 years? There are a half a dozen or so schools that have been in and out of the mix, (Ohio State, Auburn, Clemson, LSU, Fl. State., Florida, Michigan, OK and of course the two year blip of Chi Kelly’s Oregon State teams. All of the teams that were dominant 20 years ago fell off the national stage for awhile, Miami, Notre Dame, Texas, A&M, USC, UCLA, PITT, PENN ST., B.C., Syracuse, etc. Miami and Notre Dame are back. Penn State is sorta back. Pitt can be back. If other schools can do it, so can Pitt. I suggest giving our new A.D. and Narducci a couple of five years or so before you consign Pitt football to the dustbin of history forever.

  3. mark delsignore // November 20, 2017 at 7:25 AM // Reply

    Front Porch — Closed for repairs
    Reopens Jan 2 2018.

    Please use the side door
    -The Management

    • Not the least bit unhappy that Pitts is not going to a meaningless bowl game in Detroit, or New York or somewhere else that they don’t greet you with Aloha or Pardner.

  4. mark delsignore // November 20, 2017 at 1:07 PM // Reply


    “the Panther’s bowl hopes”??

    The university gets the ~$7M any way — the kids and coaches dont have to travel (saves university $$$) and the kids can take their finals and be with their families over the holidays.

    Looks like a win-win-win all around to me!

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