Bryce Perkins threw two touchdown passes and Virginia’s defense turned in a stingy effort in a 30-14 victory against host Pittsburgh in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both schools Saturday night at Heinz Field.
With plenty of anticipation heading into the season, the Cavaliers hit some snags on offense, but scored 10 points in the first 6:37 of the third quarter to turn a 14-13 halftime deficit into a 23-14 lead. Brian Delaney’s 45-yard field goal and Perkins’ 13-yard scoring pass to Hasise Dubois provided those points.
Wayne Taulapapa’s 10-yard run capped the scoring with 32 seconds to play. That came after the Panthers turned the ball over on downs, failing to convert on fourth-and-6 at their own 27 with 4 minutes to play.
Perkins completed 20 of 34 passes for 181 yards and two scores on the night. Taulapapa’s 66 rushing yards on 10 carries led the Cavaliers on the ground.
Pittsburgh, which was limited to 263 yards of total offense, took its only lead on Kenny Pickett’s 3-yard pass to Tre Tipton with 38 seconds to play in the first half to make it 14-13.
Virginia took a 10-0 first-quarter lead as Perkins was 8 for 10 for 77 yards in the opening quarter. Delaney’s 39-yard field goal and Perkins’ 2-yard pass to Chris Sharp accounted for the scoring.
The touchdown was set up following Noah Taylor’s blocked punt that Dubois returned to the Pitt 19.
Pittsburgh got on the board on A.J. Davis’ 2-yard run early in the second quarter.
Delaney’s 36-yard field goal padded Virginia’s edge to 13-7 with 10:19 to go in the half, which held until Tipton’s touchdown with 38 seconds to play in the half.
Pickett ended up 21 for 41 for 185 yards. He threw two interceptions, with Joey Blount and Matt Gahm making the picks.
Gahm’s third-quarter interception put the Cavaliers at the Pittsburgh 29-yard line, leading to Dubois’ touchdown.
The game pitted the ACC’s reigning Coastal Division champion (Pittsburgh) against this season’s preseason divisional favorite (Virginia).
—Field Level Media