football | ncaaf

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Pick & Prediction NOV 21TH 2020

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You could say there are three opponents in play for Saturday's ACC game between the Pitt Panthers and Virginia Tech Hokies at Heinz Field. The interloper is COVID-19, which could force a postponement.

As of Tuesday, Pitt's football activities were shut down because of the virus, which forced the postponement last week of the Panthers' game against Georgia Tech. An unknown number of Pitt players tested positive last week, and test results this week will determine the status of the Virginia Tech game.

"It's a silent little killer," Pitt linebacker Chase Pine said. "It got us, but we're going to come back stronger."

Pitt (4-4, 3-4 ACC) broke a four-game losing streak two weeks ago with a 41-17 win over Florida State, but any momentum might have been lost with the forced open weekend.

At the least, Pitt will have limited practice this week.

"We can practice once (and be prepared), to be honest with you," Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi said. "But you like to get two in.

"We expect to play the Virginia Tech game. We hope we're not let down again. It will be up to our team and players on how safe they are out there."

The Hokies (4-4, 4-3) have lost three of their past four games but nearly pulled off an upset last week in a 25-24 setback against then-No. 9 Miami, a game they led for 54 minutes before the Hurricanes pulled it out.

They are preparing and practicing as per usual.

"We deal with uncertainty every day," Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said.

"I think our guys have done a great job handling (the pandemic). We can't approach this week with any different mindset."

If Pitt gets clearance to play, the matchup to watch will be the Panthers' defense against Virginia Tech's offense.

The Panthers rank first in the ACC on defense, allowing 296.5 yards a game. They lead the country with an average of 11.6 tackles for loss, with linebacker SirVocea Dennis tied for second nationally with 13.5. They also lead the ACC and rank second in the nation with 4.75 sacks a game, led by defensive end Patrick Jones II's eight.

In particular, Pitt is stingy against the run. Opponents are gaining just 78.8 yards a game and a national-best 2.2 yards a carry on the ground.

Something, then, will have to give, as the Hokies lead the conference with 262.8 rushing yards a game. Khalil Herbert averages 8.2 yards a carry and quarterback Hendon Hooker 5.6.

However, Virginia Tech had a season-worst 160 yards rushing against Miami, as Hooker was sacked six times (with 46 yards in losses) also a season-most for the team.

"We'll have a similar challenge (against Pitt)," Fuente said. "These guys are just as big and just as athletic on the defensive line, but they put more people in the box than Miami. We're going to go against a big, athletic defensive line that pressures the passer.

"I know that there's nobody in America that devotes as many hats in the box to the run game as Pat (Narduzzi) does. It makes it very, very difficult to run the ball at all."

And that's if the game is played at all.

--Field Level Media

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Last 10

W 44% L 56%
4 5
  • @Pittsburgh L 14 - 47
  • Miami L 25 - 24
  • Liberty L 38 - 35
  • @Louisville W 42 - 35
  • @Wake Forest L 16 - 23
  • Boston College W 14 - 40
  • @North Carolina L 45 - 56
  • @Duke W 38 - 31
  • NC State W 24 - 45
  • Virginia D 0 - 0
W 60% L 40%
6 4
  • Virginia Tech W 14 - 47
  • @Florida State W 41 - 17
  • Notre Dame L 45 - 3
  • @Miami L 19 - 31
  • @Boston College L 30 - 31
  • NC State L 30 - 29
  • Louisville W 20 - 23
  • Syracuse W 10 - 21
  • Austin Peay W 0 - 55
  • @Eastern Michigan W 34 - 30

Last Meetings

  • Hokies @ Panthers 14-47
  • Panthers @ Hokies 0-28
  • Hokies @ Panthers 22-52
  • Panthers @ Hokies 14-20
  • Hokies @ Panthers 39-36
  • Panthers @ Hokies 17-13
  • Hokies @ Panthers 16-21
  • Panthers @ Hokies 9-19
  • Hokies @ Panthers 17-35

Atlantic Coast

Clemson Tigers71 0.8750.00.00.0 5-02-17-0-1
NC State Wolfpack63 0.6671.50.00.0 4-12-26-0-3
Boston College Eagles54 0.5562.50.00.0 3-22-25-0-4
Wake Forest Demon Deacons43 0.5712.50.00.0 3-11-24-0-3
Louisville Cardinals36 0.3334.50.00.0 3-20-43-0-6
Florida State Seminoles26 0.2505.00.00.0 2-20-42-0-6
Syracuse Orange18 0.1116.50.00.0 1-40-41-0-8
Miami Hurricanes71 0.8750.00.00.0 4-03-17-0-1
North Carolina Tar Heels62 0.7501.00.00.0 4-02-26-0-2
Pittsburgh Panthers54 0.5562.50.00.0 4-21-25-0-4
Virginia Cavaliers44 0.5003.00.00.0 4-10-34-0-4
Virginia Tech Hokies45 0.4443.50.00.0 2-22-34-0-5
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets25 0.2864.50.00.0 1-31-22-0-5
Duke Blue Devils26 0.2505.00.00.0 1-31-32-0-6

Big Ten

Ohio State Buckeyes40 01.0000.00.00.0 3-01-04-0-0
Indiana Hoosiers41 0.8000.50.00.0 2-02-14-0-1
Maryland Terrapins21 0.6671.50.00.0 1-01-12-0-1
Michigan Wolverines23 0.4002.50.00.0 0-22-12-0-3
Michigan State Spartans13 0.2503.00.00.0 0-21-11-0-3
Rutgers Scarlet Knights14 0.2003.50.00.0 0-31-11-0-4
Penn State Nittany Lions05 0.0004.50.00.0 0-30-20-0-5

Conference USA

Marshall Thundering Herd70 01.0000.00.00.0 5-02-07-0-0
Florida Atlantic Owls51 0.8331.50.00.0 4-01-15-0-1
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers46 0.4004.50.00.0 3-21-44-0-6
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders36 0.3335.00.00.0 0-33-33-0-6
Charlotte 49ers23 0.4004.00.00.0 1-01-32-0-3
Florida International Panthers05 0.0006.00.00.0 0-30-20-0-5


Buffalo Bulls30 01.0000.00.00.0 1-02-03-0-0
Kent State Golden Flashes30 01.0000.00.00.0 2-01-03-0-0
Miami (Ohio) RedHawks11 0.5001.50.00.0 1-00-11-0-1
Ohio Bobcats11 0.5001.50.00.0 1-00-11-0-1
Akron Zips03 0.0003.00.00.0 0-10-20-0-3
Bowling Green Falcons03 0.0003.00.00.0 0-20-10-0-3


Florida Gators61 0.8570.00.00.0 3-03-16-0-1
Georgia Bulldogs52 0.7141.00.00.0 3-12-15-0-2
Missouri Tigers33 0.5002.50.00.0 2-11-23-0-3
Kentucky Wildcats35 0.3753.50.00.0 2-21-33-0-5
Tennessee Volunteers25 0.2864.00.00.0 1-21-32-0-5
South Carolina Gamecocks26 0.2504.50.00.0 1-31-32-0-6
Vanderbilt Commodores07 0.0006.00.00.0 0-40-30-0-7

Sun Belt

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers80 01.0000.00.00.0 5-03-08-0-0
Appalachian State Mountaineers62 0.7502.00.00.0 4-02-26-0-2
Georgia Southern Eagles63 0.6672.50.00.0 5-01-36-0-3
Georgia St. Panthers44 0.5004.00.00.0 2-22-24-0-4
Troy Trojans44 0.5004.00.00.0 2-22-24-0-4

Mountain West

Boise State Broncos41 0.8000.00.00.0 2-12-04-0-1
Air Force Falcons22 0.5001.50.00.0 2-10-12-0-2
Colorado State Rams12 0.3332.00.00.0 1-00-21-0-2
Wyoming Cowboys12 0.3332.00.00.0 1-00-21-0-2
Utah State Aggies04 0.0003.50.00.0 0-20-20-0-4
New Mexico Lobos04 0.0003.50.00.0 0-10-30-0-4


Oregon Ducks30 01.0000.00.00.0 2-01-03-0-0
Washington Huskies20 01.0000.50.00.0 2-00-02-0-0
Washington State Cougars11 0.5001.50.00.0 0-11-01-0-1
Oregon State Beavers12 0.3332.00.00.0 1-10-11-0-2
California Golden Bears02 0.0002.50.00.0 0-00-20-0-2
Stanford Cardinal02 0.0002.50.00.0 0-10-10-0-2
Southern California Trojans30 01.0000.00.00.0 1-02-03-0-0
Colorado Buffaloes20 01.0000.50.00.0 1-01-02-0-0
UCLA Bruins12 0.3332.00.00.0 1-00-21-0-2
Utah Utes01 0.0002.00.00.0 0-10-00-0-1
Arizona State Sun Devils01 0.0002.00.00.0 0-00-10-0-1
Arizona Wildcats02 0.0002.50.00.0 0-10-10-0-2

American Athletic

Cincinnati Bearcats80 01.0000.00.00.0 6-02-08-0-0
Southern Methodist Mustangs72 0.7781.50.00.0 3-14-17-0-2
Tulsa Golden Hurricane51 0.8332.00.00.0 3-02-15-0-1
Memphis Tigers52 0.7142.50.00.0 5-00-25-0-2
Central Florida Knights53 0.6253.00.00.0 2-23-15-0-3
Tulane Green Wave55 0.5004.00.00.0 2-23-35-0-5
Houston Cougars33 0.5004.00.00.0 2-21-13-0-3
Navy Midshipmen34 0.4294.50.00.0 1-22-23-0-4
East Carolina Pirates26 0.2506.00.00.0 0-32-32-0-6
Temple Owls16 0.1436.50.00.0 1-20-41-0-6
South Florida Bulls17 0.1257.00.00.0 1-20-51-0-7

Big 12

Iowa State Cyclones62 0.7500.00.00.0 4-12-16-0-2
Oklahoma Sooners62 0.7500.00.00.0 4-12-16-0-2
Oklahoma State Cowboys52 0.7140.50.00.0 3-12-15-0-2
Texas Longhorns52 0.7140.50.00.0 3-12-15-0-2
West Virginia Mountaineers53 0.6251.00.00.0 5-00-35-0-3
Kansas State Wildcats44 0.5002.00.00.0 2-22-24-0-4
Texas Christian Horned Frogs34 0.4292.50.00.0 1-32-13-0-4
Texas Tech Red Raiders35 0.3753.00.00.0 3-20-33-0-5
Baylor Bears15 0.1674.00.00.0 1-10-41-0-5
Kansas Jayhawks07 0.0005.50.00.0 0-30-40-0-7

Independents I-A

Brigham Young Cougars90 01.0000.00.00.0 6-03-09-0-0
Notre Dame Fighting Irish80 01.0000.50.00.0 5-03-08-0-0
Liberty Flames81 0.8891.00.00.0 5-03-18-0-1
Army Black Knights72 0.7782.00.00.0 6-01-27-0-2
Massachusetts Minutemen03 0.0006.00.00.0 0-00-30-0-3

Big Ten

Northwestern Wildcats50 01.0000.00.00.0 3-02-05-0-0
Iowa Hawkeyes32 0.6002.00.00.0 1-12-13-0-2
Wisconsin Badgers21 0.6672.00.00.0 1-01-12-0-1
Purdue Boilermakers22 0.5002.50.00.0 1-11-12-0-2
Illinois Fighting Illini23 0.4003.00.00.0 0-22-12-0-3
Minnesota Golden Gophers23 0.4003.00.00.0 1-21-12-0-3
Nebraska Cornhuskers13 0.2503.50.00.0 1-10-21-0-3

Conference USA

Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners64 0.6000.00.00.0 4-12-36-0-4
UAB Blazers43 0.5710.50.00.0 3-11-24-0-3
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs43 0.5710.50.00.0 3-11-24-0-3
North Texas Mean Green33 0.5001.00.00.0 2-31-03-0-3
Texas El Paso Miners34 0.4291.50.00.0 2-01-43-0-4
Southern Miss Golden Eagles27 0.2223.50.00.0 1-51-22-0-7
Rice Owls12 0.3331.50.00.0 0-11-11-0-2


Western Michigan Broncos30 01.0000.00.00.0 1-02-03-0-0
Toledo Rockets21 0.6671.00.00.0 1-01-12-0-1
Central Michigan Chippewas21 0.6671.00.00.0 1-11-02-0-1
Ball State Cardinals21 0.6671.00.00.0 2-00-12-0-1
Northern Illinois Huskies03 0.0003.00.00.0 0-20-10-0-3
Eastern Michigan Eagles03 0.0003.00.00.0 0-10-20-0-3

Mountain West

Nevada Wolf Pack50 01.0000.00.00.0 3-02-05-0-0
San Jose State Spartans40 01.0000.50.00.0 3-01-04-0-0
Fresno State Bulldogs31 0.7501.50.00.0 1-12-03-0-1
San Diego State Aztecs32 0.6002.00.00.0 2-11-13-0-2
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors23 0.4003.00.00.0 1-11-22-0-3
UNLV Rebels04 0.0004.50.00.0 0-20-20-0-4


Alabama Crimson Tide70 01.0000.00.00.0 4-03-07-0-0
Texas A&M Aggies51 0.8331.50.00.0 3-02-15-0-1
Auburn Tigers52 0.7142.00.00.0 4-01-25-0-2
Louisiana State Tigers33 0.5003.50.00.0 1-12-23-0-3
Mississippi Rebels34 0.4294.00.00.0 1-32-13-0-4
Arkansas Razorbacks35 0.3754.50.00.0 2-21-33-0-5
Mississippi State Bulldogs25 0.2865.00.00.0 1-21-32-0-5

Sun Belt

UL Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns71 0.8750.00.00.0 3-14-07-0-1
Arkansas St. Red Wolves36 0.3334.50.00.0 2-11-53-0-6
South Alabama Jaguars36 0.3334.50.00.0 2-31-33-0-6
Texas State Bobcats29 0.1826.50.00.0 1-41-52-0-8
UL Monroe Warhawks08 0.0007.00.00.0 0-40-40-0-8

Last Injuries

Pittsburgh Panthers

  • Jared Wayne

    Ques Sat | questionable

    Wayne sat out the last game due to COVID-19 protocols, and it is unknown if he will compete against Clemson on Saturday.

  • Jordan Addison

    Ques Sat | questionable

    Addison missed the last game due to COVID-19 protocols, and it remains to be seen if he will be cleared to face Clemson on Saturday.

  • Israel Abanikanda

    Ques Sat | questionable

    Abanikanda was held out of the last game due to the COVID-19 protocols, and it is unknown if he will be a part of Saturday's game versus Clemson.

  • Keyshon Camp

    Prob Sat | probable

    Camp is expected to suit up Saturday against Virginia Tech despite an undefined injury.

  • Todd Sibley Jr.

    Ques Sat | questionable

    Sibley Jr. has missed the previous two games due to an undetermined injury, and it remains to be seen if he will be active Saturday against Virginia Tech.

  • Taysir Mack

    Ques Sat | questionable

    Mack sat out the last game due to an unspecified ailment, and it is unknown if he will be a participant in Saturday's contest versus Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech Hokies

  • Lakeem Rudolph

    Ques Dec 5 | questionable

    Rudolph has been held out of the lineup in the previous two games due to an unannounced reason, and it is unknown if he will return Dec. 5 versus Clemson.

  • Jermaine Waller

    Out indefinitely | out

    Walker is out of commission due to an undefined injury, and he will miss an undetermined length of time.

  • Michael Peterson

    Ques Dec 5 | questionable

    Peterson has missed the last three games due to an unannounced reason, and it remains to be seen if he will be pencilled into the lineup Dec. 5 against Clemson.

  • Doug Nester

    Ques Dec 5 | questionable

    Nester sat out the last game due to an undefined injury, and it is up in the air if he will be active Dec. 5 versus Clemson.

  • Keshawn King

    Ques Dec 5 | questionable

    King has sat out the previous three games with an undefined injury, and it is unknown if he will take the field against Clemson on Dec. 5.

  • Matt Johnson

    Ques Dec 5 | questionable

    Johnson has missed the last three games due to an unknown reason, and it has yet to be determined if he will partake against Clemson on Dec. 5.

  • Nasir Peoples

    Ques Dec 5 | questionable

    Peoples has missed the last three games with an injury to an unlisted location, and it remains to be seen if it will keep him out of Dec. 5 versus Clemson.

  • Emmanuel Belmar

    Ques Dec 5 | questionable

    Belmar has sat out the previous four games with an injury to an unknown location, and it remains to be seen if he will be a participant Dec. 5 versus Clemson.