CHARLOTTESVILLE Va. -- Pittsburgh kept pace in the Atlantic Coast Conference's Coastal Division with a 45-31 win over division foe Virginia on Saturday at Scott Stadium. The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for Virginia (2-4 1-1) after starting the season 0-3. After trailing 28-21 in the second quarter Pittsburgh (5-2 2-1) reeled off 24 unanswered points to gain control of the game before capturing the 14-point win.
Running back James Conner ran for 90 yards and two touchdowns for the Panthers. Quarterback Nathan Peterman passed for 137 yards and Pittsburgh racked up 209 yards on the ground. Virginia was held to 110 yards in the second half as the Pittsburgh defense made some much-needed halftime adjustments.
Quarterback Kurt Benkert passed for 278 yards but completed only 20 of his 45 passes. The Cavaliers outgained Pittsburgh 378-346 but managed to score only three points in the second half. For the first time this season Virginia scored on its opening drive of the game as running back Albert Reid ran it in from five yards to put the Cavaliers up 7-0 early in the first quarter. The teams combined for 53 points in the opening half as Pittsburgh managed only 160 yards in the half but took a 35-28 lead into the halftime break thanks to a 59-yard interception return by Jordan Whitehead.
Virginia totaled 270 yards in the first half but was gashed by the Panthers' special teams which included a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Quadree Henderson. Conner found the end zone twice in the half as he paced the Panthers' running attack. Benkert threw for 185 yards and a touchdown for the Cavaliers who racked up 13 first downs.