Run game, punt return TD lift Pitt over Virginia
Running back Darrin Hall rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown as Pittsburgh defeated Virginia 31-14 on Saturday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
Sophomore quarterback Ben Dinucci was 10-of-18 passing for 134 yards with a touchdown and an interception as the Panthers (4-5, 2-3 ACC) won their second straight game. Quadree Henderson returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown.
Hall has rushed for 365 yards and four touchdowns in the last two games after totaling 108 yards and zero running scores in the first seven contests.
Quarterback Kurt Benkert was 22 of 42 for 212 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for the Cavaliers (5-3, 2-2), who were denied their first 3-0 road start since 1992.
Pittsburgh took a 21-0 lead with 6:14 left in the second quarter when Henderson fielded a punt at his own 25 and weaved through several defenders down the right sideline for his second punt return touchdown of the season.
Earlier, Hall registered a 14-yard rushing score in the first quarter and Dinucci threw a 19-yard TD pass to wide receiver Jester Weah.
Virginia got on the board with 1:13 left in the first half as wide receiver Hasise Dubois made a diving catch in the right-front corner of the end zone for a 19-yard score. The Panthers restored their three-touchdown lead when Qadree Ollison found a big hole up the middle and scored on a 25-yard run midway through the third quarter.
Benkert found tight end Richard Burney in the back of the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 1 on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 28-14. The Cavaliers had a chance to trim a 31-14 deficit with 4:35 remaining, but Jordan Ellis was stopped for no gain on fourth-and-goal from the 1.
Virginia also turned it over on downs at the Pittsburgh 10 with 35 seconds to go.