BLACKSBURG — This year’s Pitt game has a much different feel than last year’s.
No. 24 Virginia Tech leads 10-3 at halftime at Lane Stadium after a strong defensive performance, a far cry from the 21-3 deficit the Hokies faced at the break last season at Heinz Field.
The Hokies have five sacks and have held Pittsburgh to 113 yards. Only a 48-yard pass to Devin Street that set up a field goal just before halftime prevented the Panthers from being shut out.
Virginia Tech held the Panthers to 9 rushing yards on 16 carries, often using defensive end Dadi Nicolas as a standup defender on the edge of the line. Nicolas is tied with linebacker Jack Tyler for the team lead with five tackles, with 1½ sacks.
The Hokies’ offense, meanwhile, was hot and cold but did enough to give Tech the lead.
They struck on the opening driving, picking up a blitz on third down and giving Logan Thomas time to hit tight end Kalvin Cline for a 27-yard touchdown to make it 7-0 five minutes in. It was Cline’s first career touchdown catch.
Kicker Cody Journell snapped out of a recent funk by drilling a career-long 48-yarder on Tech’s next drive, giving the Hokies a 10-0 lead with 4:29 left in the first. He had missed three of his previous four field goal attempts, going back to the East Carolina game.
The offense did little after that, however. The Hokies had 104 yards in the first quarter but only 42 in the second.
Thomas finished the first half 10-for-17 for 119 yards and a touchdown. The Hokies have rushed for only 27 yards.
Pitt’s Chris Blewitt hit a 47-yard field goal in the final second to make it a 10-3 game at halftime.