BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Kenny Pickett threw two touchdown passes and rushed for a score to lead Pittsburgh to a 28-7 victory over Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Pickett threw touchdown passes of 8 yards to Gavin Bartholomew and 36 yards to Jared Wayne, and he scored on a 3-yard run — all in the first half — as the Panthers (5-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) won their third straight game. Pittsburgh moved into sole possession of first place in the ACC’s Coastal Division.

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Pickett, arguably the leader for ACC Player of the Year at the season’s halfway point, has thrown 21 touchdown passes and just one interception. He completed 22 of 37 for 203 yards against Virginia Tech, and Israel Abanikanda rushed for a career-high 140 yards.

Virginia Tech (3-3, 1-1) finished with a season-low 225 yards. The Hokies’ lone score came on a 2-yard pass from Braxton Burmeister to Tayvion Robinson in the third quarter.

THE TAKEAWAYS

Pittsburgh: The Panthers’ offense gets all the attention, but Pittsburgh’s defense deserves accolades as well. The Panthers have allowed just 35 points in the past three games and haven’t allowed more than 100 yards rushing in those three. This is a good squad that is positioned perfectly heading into the second half of the season.

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Virginia Tech: Once again, the Hokies were abysmal on offense. Poor quarterback play, dropped passes, and an inability to run the ball killed drive after drive. The performance was so shoddy that Virginia Tech’s student section started leaving in the second quarter, and boos could be heard loudly throughout the game. Head coach Justin Fuente, who entered the season on the hot seat, needs to find some answers quickly.

UP NEXT

Pittsburgh: The Panthers play at home against Clemson next Saturday.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies host Syracuse next Saturday.

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