Last week we had four Top 25 contenders fall out of contention in the first three weeks of the season, and we now have our fifth. The Virginia Tech Hokies couldn’t find a way to overpower the Pittsburgh Panthers and now find themselves in severe title crisis as they are set to free fall from the No. 13 spot in the country to likely out of the Top 25 all together.
The Hokies didn’t have a bad day through the air at all, but that proved to be one-dimensional against the Panthers who matched and one-upped the Hokies by having a dazzling day on the ground. Tino Sunseri threw for 283 yards and three touchdowns for the Panthers in the win but it was Rushel Shell and his 144 yards on the ground that proved to be the difference in that game, as Virginia Tech not only couldn’t stop him but they couldn’t make up for the time he ate up carrying the ball.
But it’s not like the Panthers needed to run out the clock against the soon to be formerly 13th ranked team in the country. Late in the fourth quarter the Panthers were leading 28-17 before the clinched the upset win when Sunseri tossed his third touchdown of the day with 5:33 left in the game.
To put the game into perspective, Rushel Shell rushed for 144 yards — all five Hokies who attempted rushes on the day didn’t amount to half the yards Shell ran for on the day.
Marcus Davis was the only shining star for the Hokies on Saturday as he racked up 129 yards and a touchdown, but it would take more than just a great performance by Davis for the Hokies to keep their title hopes alive. Virginia Tech couldn’t muster anything else up and they now watch as their hopes of hoisting a national championship burns.
Virginia Tech’s loss to Pittsburgh marks the fourth Top 15 team to fall in the first three weeks of the season, and if college football has taught us anything, they won’t be last.