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ACC action pits Panthers against Hokies

Blacksburg, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - Former Big East rivals are set to square off for the first time as Atlantic Coast Conference foes, as the 24th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies host the Pittsburgh Panthers at Lane Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Pittsburgh has had two weeks to prepare for this contest after getting a bye this past weekend. Pittsburgh has won three straight for the first time since 2010 after notching a 14-3 triumph over Virginia on Sept. 28.

"We got some things accomplished last week," Panthers head coach Paul Chryst said at his weekly press conference. "We worked on some different areas that I thought we needed work on. We got some guys a little bit healthier hopefully."

The Panthers' only loss so far was in the season opener against No. 6 Florida State (41-13).

Newly ranked Virginia Tech currently leads the ACC Coastal Division with a 2-0 league mark. The Hokies are seeking their sixth straight win after taking down North Carolina over the weekend, 27-17. Like Pitt, their only loss came in the season opener against top-ranked Alabama (35-10).

Virginia Tech holds a 7-5 lead in the all-time series. These teams met up last season as non-conference foes at Heinz Field, where Pitt claimed a 35-17 victory over the then 13th-ranked Hokies. The Panthers have won the last four meetings.

A week after claiming a 58-55 win over Duke and scoring its most points in 18 years, Pitt's offense came back down to Earth against Virginia. Quarterback Tom Savage completed only 13-of-30 passes for 190 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He was also sacked seven times and did not take the field for Pitt's final series after taking several big hits. According to coach Chryst, Savage has been cleared to play this week. Freshman Tyler Boyd tallied seven catches for 111 yards in the win over UVA. He and Devin Street have combined for 44 catches, 870 yards and seven receiving touchdowns on the season, as both are averaging better than 100 receiving yards per game. Pitt is one of only three teams in the nation to have two players averaging more than 100 yards receiving. Street, a senior, needs only seven catches to become the school's all-time leader.

The Panthers yielded a mere 188 total yards against Virginia. They recovered fumbles on back-to-back series in the first quarter to set up both of Pitt's touchdowns. And while the offense was held off the scoreboard the rest of the way, the defense never relented. The Cavaliers converted only 3-of-18 third downs and was 1-of-4 on fourth down. Pitt held UVA quarterback David Watford to 15-of-37 passing for 123 yards, while no Cavaliers player rushed for more than 34 yards. Despite the success in that game, coach Chryst talked about the challenges his defense will face in trying to slow down Hokies' quarterback Logan Thomas and the spread attack.

"We want to make the quarterback uncomfortable," Chryst said. "But I think they �re settling in as they keep evolving. He's obviously a tremendous athlete and talented quarterback. If he's going, their team is going. It'll be a challenge for us. He's a good player."

One player who is certainly capable of making Thomas uncomfortable is senior defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who ranks second nationally in both sacks (1.5 per game) and tackles for loss (2.3 per game).

Logan Thomas has compiled 8,158 yards of total offense in his career, second all-time at Virginia Tech. While he has the ability to beat defenders with his legs, lately he has been doing so by spreading the ball around. Tech has had seven or more players catch passes in each of its last five games. D.J. Coles has only caught 11 passes, but five of those receptions have gone for touchdowns. In the win over UNC, the Hokies ran for only 48 yards and averaged 1.4 yards per carry as a team. However, Thomas was an efficient 19-of-28 passing for 293 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Willie Byrn paced the receiving corps with 123 yards on four grabs.

Defensively, Virginia Tech has recorded at least one interception in 10 straight games. Cornerback Kyle Fuller notched his sixth career pick against UNC, while Kyshoen Jarrett also came up with an interception. Jack Tyler and Tariq Edwards shared team-high honors with 11 tackles apiece. Tech was also strong against the run, limiting UNC to 99 rushing yards on 38 attempts (2.6 ypc). The Hokies have limited opponents to just nine trips inside the red zone this season. Additionally, they have allowed only three rushing touchdowns all season. The Tar Heels had only two red-zone opportunities and produced one touchdown and one field goal.

10/09 10:50:32 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
Final
SFG 11
KAN 4
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
Final
WASU 37
ARZ 59
Final
CLEM 16
SYR 6
Final
LAMON 18
TXST 22
Final
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 34
Final
COLST 45
WYO 31
Final
LSU 10
MISS 7
Final
TENN 20
ALA 34
Final
AUB 42
SCAR 35
Final
PSU 24
OSU 31
Final
UTAH 24
USC 21
Final
WASH 10
ARST 24
Final
HAW 18
NEV 26
 
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
NYI 7
DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
Final
STL 3
CHI 2
Final
NAS 0
PIT 3
Final
MIN 7
TAM 2
Final
ARI 2
FLA 1
Final
CAL 1
WAS 3
3:00pm Today
WIN
COL
 
4:00pm Today
LOS
CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
SJS
 
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
WAS
 
9:30am Today
ATL
DET
1:00pm Today
CIN
BAL
1:00pm Today
NYJ
BUF
1:00pm Today
NEP
CHI
1:00pm Today
TEN
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
MIA
1:00pm Today
TAM
MIN
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
1:00pm Today
KAN
STL
4:05pm Today
ARI
PHI
4:25pm Today
PIT
IND
4:25pm Today
CLE
OAK
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
GBP
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14