CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia took advantage of Pitt’s self-inflicted wounds for a 27-0 first-quarter lead Saturday night at Scott Stadium.
The Panthers allowed excellent field position and compounded their problems by committing eight penalties for 65 yards in the first quarter alone.
On the opening kickoff, Pitt attempted an onside kick by Cody Sawhill, but the ball was recovered by Virginia and the Panthers were penalized 10 yards because Michael Toerper touched the ball at the Pitt 49.
Virginia needed only four plays to score, as Cedric Peerman ran for 11 yards and had a 15-yard reception and quarterback Jameel Sewell ran for 11 to the Pitt 2. Sewell then found tight end Jonathan Stupar for a touchdown and 6-0 lead. Defensive end Joe Clermond blocked Chris Gould’s point-after kick, the first by a Pitt player since J.J. Horne did so against Rutgers in Oct. 18, 2003.
After Pitt went three-and-out, Virginia used another short field to increase its lead. The Cavaliers started on their own 49 and used pass plays of 16 and 12 yards followed by a Peerman 10-yard run to set up Sewell’s 18-yard scoring pass to tight end Tom Santi for a 13-0 advantage with 9:06 remaining in the first quarter.
Lowell Robinson fumbled the ensuing kickoff at Pitt’s 26, setting up Virginia’s next scoring drive. The Cavaliers needed six plays before Sewell threw a rollout pass to Rashawn Jackson for a 20-0 lead with 6:51 left. It was the first time since 2005 that Virginia had passed for three touchdowns in the first quarter.
Virginia accounted for 116 yards on 15 plays in its first three drives. A 45-yard punt return gave the Cavaliers the ball at Pitt’s 21, and they took advantage of a pass interference penalty against Mike Phillips at the goal line to score on Peerman’s 1-yard run for a 27-0 lead.