Hokies struggle to keep pace against Pitt’s passing attack, suffer third consecutive loss

Norm Wood, The Daily Press
·2 min read

Sitting on Virginia Tech’s bench with mouths agape, Divine Deablo and Devin Taylor alternated between watching the Hokies’ offense sputter on the Heinz Field video board, gazing into the distance and staring down at upturned hands.

Given the failures they were witnessing, and the passing barrage they’d surrendered, their shell-shocked reactions were justified - even with 12 1/2 minutes left to play.

Another trip to Pittsburgh. Another disastrous outcome for Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente, whose approval rating among the Hokies faithful continues to absorb critical hits.

With a 47-14 loss to Pittsburgh, Tech suffered its third consecutive loss and inched closer to its first losing regular season since 1992. Questionable play-calling on third and fourth downs, coupled with a porous pass defense that surrendered 404 yards, put Tech in a deep hole.

Tech (4-5, 4-4 ACC), which finished with 434 yards, was just 3 of 11 on third downs and couldn’t convert on any of its three attempts on fourth downs. Tech coach Justin Fuente bristled when he was asked after the game if he would consider taking over play-calling from offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen.

“That’s the most ludicrous crap I’ve ever heard,” Fuente said. “Next question.”

Pitt (5-4, 4-4) scored the last 31 points unanswered, riding quarterback Kenny Pickett’s right arm to the majority of its 556 yards for the game. Tech blitzed frequently in the first half, but was unable to get to Pickett, who completed 24-of-40 passes for 259 yards in the first half and 35-of-52 passes for the game.

Wide receiver DJ Turner had 15 catches - the most against Tech’s defense since at least the start of the 1987 season - for 184 yards and a touchdown to bolster Pitt’s passing attack. Pitt defeated Tech 52-22 in 2018 in the Hokies’ last trip to Heinz Field.

Norm Wood, nwood@dailypress.com

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