Pitt smashes Vir­ginia Tech to move closer to ACC Coastal ti­tle

The Sun News (Sunday) - - Sports -

Qadree Ol­li­son ran for 235 yards and three touch­downs, Dar­rin Hall added 186 yards rush­ing and a score of his own as Pitts­burgh moved closer to its first ACC Coastal Divi­sion ti­tle with a dom­i­nant 52-22 vic­tory over Vir­ginia Tech on Satur­day.

The Pan­thers (6-4, 5-1 ACC) rolled up a school­record 654 to­tal yards, 492 com­ing on the ground. Mau­rice Ffrench caught a 78-yard touch­down pass from Kenny Pick­ett and later scored on a 12-yard run off a jet sweep as Pitt jumped to a 31-7 half­time lead and then cruised.

Ol­li­son sealed it with pro­gram record 97-yard touch­down run in the fourth quar­ter, be­com­ing the sixth Pitt player ever go to over 1,000 yards rush­ing in mul­ti­ple sea­sons in the process.

The Pan­thers need to win one of their fi­nal two games against Wake For­est or Mi­ami to be­come the sixth dif­fer­ent school to win the Coastal Divi­sion in as many sea­sons.

It’s a rise that seemed un­likely at the end of Septem­ber, when Pitt sat at 2-3 af­ter get­ting blown out by Penn State and Cen­tral Florida. Yet the Pan­thers have col­lected them­selves be­hind an elite rush­ing at­tack led by Hall and Ol­li­son, who cel­e­brated Se­nior Day by putting on a show­case on just how far Pitt has come over the last six weeks.

Ryan Wil­lis threw for 231 yards and three touch­downs for the Hok­ies (4-5, 3-3), two of them to Eric Kumah.

Pan­thers head coach Pat Nar­duzzi said he wasn’t wor­ried about his team’s abil­ity to de­liver it put in a sim­i­lar spot, and Pitt spent four quar­ters putting on a block­ing clinic. Hall and Ol­li­son spent most of the af­ter­noon roar­ing through gap­ing holes and re­spond­ing in the sec­ond half when­ever Vir­ginia Tech at­tempted to get back in it.

The nail came with just un­der 5 min­utes left af­ter the Pan­thers stopped the Hok­ies on fourth down at the Pitt 3. Ol­li­son took the next snap and chugged to the end zone, flip­ping across the goal line to cel­e­brate the long­est ever run by a Pan­ther, heady ter­ri­tory for a pro­gram that dates back to 1905 and whose ros­ter of alumni in­cludes Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner Tony Dorsett and cur­rent NFL star LeSean McCoy.

NO­TABLE

Duke 42, North Carolina 35: Daniel Jones ac­counted for 547 to­tal yards and four touch­downs to help Duke beat ri­val North Carolina at home.

Jones threw for 361 yards and three touch­downs for the Blue Devils (7-3, 3-3 At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence). He also ran for a 61-yard touch­down and had a 68yard keeper in a 186-yard rush­ing day, help­ing Duke fin­ish with a sea­son-high 629 yards.

Duke claimed a third straight vic­tory in the se­ries, al­low­ing the Blue Devils to keep the Vic­tory Bell for an­other year.

The Tar Heels (1-8, 1-6) trailed by 14 through­out the fourth quar­ter un­til a late TD throw from Nathan El­liott to Thomas Jack­son with 75 sec­onds left. Then, af­ter a late stop, UNC had a fi­nal drive for the tie and pushed to the Duke 39. Vir­ginia 45, Lib­erty 24: Bryce Perkins threw for two touch­downs and ran for two more and Vir­ginia beat Lib­erty 45-24 Satur­day. Joe Reed caught both scor­ing throws, of 14 and six yards, and also re­turned a kick­off 90 yards for a touch­down for the Cava­liers (7-3), who en­sured their first win­ning sea­son since the 2011 team fin­ished 8-5.

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