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PITTSBURGH (pittsburghpanthers.com and AP) - Nate Peterman threw for 222 yards and two scores, Qadree Ollison added one on the ground and Pittsburgh held off Virginia 26-19 on Saturday.
The Panthers improved to 4-1 for the first time since 2009 and 2-0 in the ACC after surviving a late scare from the Cavaliers (1-4, 0-1).
Virginia had the ball with a chance to it in the final seconds but Matt Johns' fourth-down pass to T.J. Thorpe sailed wide.
Johns completed 17 of 33 for 209 yards and a touchdown with an interception. The Cavaliers have dropped 12 straight road games dating back to 2012.
Pitt never trailed and appeared on the verge of an early blowout but needed a late stand to preserve its best start in six years.
Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi stressed he wouldn't allow his team to get to high after an emphatic road win at Virginia Tech last week. The Panthers certainly came out sharp, racing to a quick 17-3 lead. Peterman hit tight end Scott Orndoff for a 37-yard touchdown pass on game's fifth play, Chris James ripped off a 48-yard sprint to set up a 4-yard scoring run by Ollison later in the first quarter and the Panthers appeared to be in firm control.
Virginia, two weeks removed from a 42-point home loss to Boise State, struggled to gain any traction. Several times the Cavaliers had receivers running open deep in the secondary in the first half only to narrowly miss a momentum-turning play. The defense, surprisingly, produced a touchdown when Mike Moore hit Peterman. The ball popped up in the air and defensive end Kwontie Moore snagged it, taking the first turnover produced by Virginia all season and chugging 27 yards to the end zone to bring the Cavaliers within 17-10.
Pitt extended its lead back to 13 when Matt Galambos returned an interception 51 yards to set up Tyler Boyd's pretty 8-yard touchdown reception. When Johns was tackled in the end zone for a safety, the Panthers were up 26-13.
The Cavaliers made it 26-19 when Johns found Canaan Severin for a 32-yard score with 5:50 to play. Given one last shot, Virginia converted a fourth-and-25 and moved to the Pitt 42 with a minute to go. Four straight incompletions, however, ended any hopes of Virginia getting a win it desperately needs to breathe some life into a disappointing season.