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October 12, 2013

Instant Analysis: Defense Manhandles Pitt

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Like a lion, the Virginia Tech defense was hungry. Their opponent was the same team that ran all over the Hokies last season, starting their downward spiral for the rest of the season.

Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage might as well have been a piece of meat. And for most of the day, Virginia Tech's ferocious defense treated him as such, with eight sacks that fueled a 19-9 Hokies win.

As coach Frank Beamer said in his post-game press conference, Virginia Tech probably could have had eight more. Sophomore defensive end Dadi Nicolas had three of the sacks, moving between a down lineman and a linebacker, while senior defensive tackle Derrick Hopkins added two sacks.

The Panthers finished with 210 yards of total offense, though 75 of it came on their final drive of the game, which ended in a nine-yard touchdown run by Savage. Pittsburgh missed an ensuing two-point conversion to keep the game out of reach.

While Virginia Tech's defense might compete against any offense in the country, offensively, there's work to be done. The Hokies put up 310 yards of total offense, 239 yards coming through the air. But the running game produced just 76 yards and five drives stalled at the Panthers' 31 yard-line or closer.

An upcoming bye week might be coming at the right time for Virginia Tech. With the hope of getting senior cornerback Antone Exum back in the lineup against Duke in two weeks, the Hokies need to rest. As long as their hunger doesn't leave.

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