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Story of the Statlines: VT vs Pitt

By Zachary Ozmon | October 10
Israel abanikanda
Photo Via CBS sports

The Story

The Hokies could not stop the rushing attack for Pitt, more specifically Isreal Abanikanda. The defense started strong but fluttered late. Meanwhile for the offense, while it was consistent, didn't have enough to finish with a win.

1. Israel Abanikanda rushes for 320 yards and 6 touchdowns

If you don't already know the name Israel Abanikanda, you might want to get used to the name. Abanikanda has been on a tear this year so far for the Pitt Panthers. Coming into the game he already had over 500 yards and 6 touchdowns. He doubled his touchdown total against the Hokies and added significantly to his total rushing yards. Abanikanda tied the Pitt school record with his 6 touchdowns on 36 carries making it look easy against the Hokie defense. The Hokies had a significant amount of tackles for losses but toward the end of the game, nothing was stopping the Pitt running back from getting the yards he wanted. This defense is still trying to figure out how to mesh which fans hope will become better later down the line.

2. Hokies return a blocked punt for a TD

Something we haven't seen all season so far is a big play from the Hokies special teams unit. Virginia Tech got it this game when PJ Prioleau came around the edge and blocked a bobbled snap and punt from Pitt. Nyke Johnson and the Hokie brigade pounced on the ball and recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown. This play couldn’t have come at a better time for the Hokies who had just gotten the game within one score and a 2 point conversion. VT only trailed by 2 after this blocked punt touchdown. We of course know how the game ended but a huge play nonetheless which brought back some flashbacks to Beamer Ball.

3. Virginia Tech offense totals 403 total yards

Compared to their last couple of games, the Hokie offense was a lot more consistent and fluid. A huge help was the return of running back Malachi Thomas. On a limited number of carries since returning from his injury, he totaled 84 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, the chemistry between Grant Wells and senior wide receiver Kaleb Smith is getting better by each week. Smith totaled his most receiving yards in a game this season going over 150. Grant Wells also showed off his ability to throw the deep ball with a 43 yard TD pass to Da’Wain Lofton. Overall, the offense is back on track in some capacity and looks to carry it over to the game against Miami.

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Born in Chesapeake and raised into a family of hokies, Virginia Tech is where I call home now. Attended New River Community College as a freshman and now a sophomore at VT as a transfer student in Fall 2022. Majoring in Sports Media and Analytics, I’m excited for what’s to come for me as a student at VT.

Virginia Tech sports has always been something I have been a fan of. From afternoons in Lane Stadium to nights in Cassell Coliseum, I have loved every second of it no matter the outcome.

One of my first memories of being a Tech fan was our upset win against Ohio State 35-21 where CB Donovan Riley had the game sealing pick-6. More recently, beating UNC in 6 overtimes, our run to the sweet 16, and of course winning the men’s basketball ACC Championship with upsets over UNC and Duke.

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