November 18, 2017 / 11:25 PM / a month ago

Preview: Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech

With consecutive losses, Virginia Tech fell out of the polls for the first time this season. The Hokies will host another team that could use a win to get back on track when Pittsburgh visits Saturday.

Virginia Tech was bashed 28-10 at No. 2 Miami two weeks ago, ending any hope of advancing to the College Football Playoff, and fell 28-22 at Georgia Tech last week in a game that left Hokies fans questioning coach Justin Fuente’s decision-making on social media. Tech elected to go a fourth down early in the game, went for two 2-point conversions and threw the ball on both third and fourth down in the final drive when only a yard was needed. “There’s a myriad of decisions that get made. I get it. It’s a short trip in this business from the penthouse to the outhouse,” Fuente told the media Monday. “The thing I would tell you is that we have thoughts and reasons for those things, and when they don’t work, then they were wrong. When they don’t work, we can own that.” Pittsburgh had a two-game winning streak snapped in a 34-31 home loss to one-win North Carolina on Nov. 9 and now faces an uphill battle to become bowl eligible for a 10th straight year with the Hokies this week followed by undefeated Miami to conclude the regular season.

TV: 12:20 p.m. ET, ACC Network

ABOUT PITTSBURGH (4-6, 2-4 ACC): Darrin Hall ran for 121 yards and a career-high four touchdowns in the loss to the Tar Heels and is averaging 162 yards on the ground over the last three games. Quarterback Ben DiNucci passed for 142 yards on 11-of-17 attempts and also rushed for a career-high 83 yards on 14 carries, including a career-high 31-yard run. The Panthers’ defense has been suspect all season and it allowed three 100-yard receivers to the Hokies last season, including 109 to Cam Phillips, in a 39-36 loss.

ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (7-3, 3-3): Quarterback Josh Jackson completed 14-of-26 passes for 153 yards and Eric Kumah caught six passes for 82 yards as the Hokies finished with a season-low 258 yards against the Yellow Jackets. Defensive back Greg Stroman intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter and returned it for a touchdown that gave the Hokies a 22-21 lead midway through the fourth quarter - his team-leading third interception of the season to go with team bests of nine pass breakups and 12 passes defensed. Hall will be challenged by a Hokies’ defense that ranks second in the ACC and 15th nationally, yielding just 310.6 total yards per game (135.7 on the ground).

EXTRA POINTS

1. Virginia Tech leads the all-time series 9-7, but Pitt has won six of the past eight meetings.

2. Among Power 5 schools, only Penn State (7.8 points per game) is allowing fewer points at home than Virginia Tech (8.2).

3. Stroman and Pitt KR Quadree Henderson are tied for the ACC lead and rank second nationally with two punt return touchdowns this season. Each has four for their career.

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 38, Pittsburgh 21

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