Bronco Mendenhall continues to do a fine job at leading the resurgence at Virginia. The Cavaliers were a mess when he took over as the head coach in 2016. They had four-straight losing seasons and eight losing seasons in ten years. Mendenhall ten years at BYU, directing them to a bowl game in every season.
It only took Mendenhall two years to get Virginia back to a bowl, as they went to the Military Bowl as a 6-6 team last season. The Cavaliers have already hit 6 wins this season, so expect a better bowl outlook for Virginia in December. They’re currently on a three-game winning streak, highlighted by a 16-13 win against the Miami Hurricanes.
Their losses came against Indiana back on September 8th and Week 2, and a 35-21 loss to a good NC State team on September 29th. With that, Virginia will go all of October without suffering a loss. They hope that November doesn’t welcome them with an ugly hello.
If Mendenhall can keep going and show even more progress next season, there will be a bigger school knocking on his door. After getting this program heading in the right direction following years of misery, the schools who have the big dollars are going to start paying attention.
Virginia have been led by a balanced attack. Their final scores look more like NFL games than some of the crazy outcomes we’re used to seeing in college. Mendenhall has built a well-rounded team that can get it done on both sides of the ball. Pittsburgh heads into Virginia on Friday night coming off a 54-45 shootout against Duke.
They ultimately came out on top with the 54 points. It’s been all over the place for Pitt this season. They’ve been blown out against Penn State and UCF, while giving Notre Dame all that they could handle. The Panthers love to pound the ball rather than open up the passing game. Either way, the Cavaliers should pose a challenge defensively in this matchup. Head below for our free Pittsburgh vs. Virginia pick.
Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Virginia Cavaliers NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Virginia -7.5(-107)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Pittsburgh vs. Virginia Pick:
Pittsburgh will look to attack Virginia on the ground in this one, like they’ve done to opposing teams all season long. They’ve been outgained in the passing game in seven of eight weeks. The only team they did outgain passing the football was against a triple-option offense, Georgia Tech. Pitt QB, Kenny Pickett, has thrown 8 touchdowns and 5 interceptions for the Panthers.
He hasn’t passed for more than 200 yards in any game this season. Qadree Ollison leads an effective ground game. He has rushed for 795 yards with a 6.3-yard per carry. and 7 touchdowns in 2018. Overall, the Panthers are averaging 227.9 rushing yards per game.
Pitt shouldn’t expect anything to come easy for them Friday night. At least, they shouldn’t expect to see a defense like Duke on the field in Virginia. The Cavaliers are allowing 327 yards per game for 21st in the FBS. They’ve given up just 113 yards per game on the ground, so this is going to be power vs power when Pittsburgh is on the field. Virginia has allowed only 18.8 points per game, compared to 32.6 points per for the Panthers.
Note that Pitt are 100th in the country with 436 yards allowed per game. Bryce Perkins is going to pose a lot of problems for their defense. Perkins can get it done through the air and with his legs. He is fresh off a 112 rushing effort against North Carolina last week. He ran for a touchdown and threw for 3 to lead Virginia to a 31-21 victory.
Perkins has thrown for 15 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, while rushing for 575 yards and 6 TD’s on the ground. I don’t foresee Pitt being able to track him down for 4 quarters. Conversely, the Panthers one-dimensional offense isn’t going to move the ball like they did against a paper-thin Duke defensive unit. A 33-20 or thereabouts looks like the final for Pittsburgh and Virginia on Friday night.