Pitt, West Virginia clash in 95th Backyard Brawl

Winner of the Brawl will likely receive a bid to the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day

Pitt is ranked 17th in the country while WVU comes in ranked 21st. Pitt 8-3 (5-1) takes on WVU 8-3 (5-1) in a game between two evenly matched teams. The Panthers are coming off of a 28-21 heartbreaking loss to No. 1 Miami. WVU is coming off of a 21-18 upset win over then-No. 12 Virginia Tech.

Senior RB Avon Cobourne leads WVU on offense. The 5-9, 190 lb RB has rushed for 1,489 yards on 285 carries. He averages 5.2 yards per carry and also has 14 TDs rushing so far this season. Avon leads the Big East in rushing yards and yards per game average. Junior RB Quincy Wilson, 5-9, 215 lbs is another standout that gives WVU one of the best RB duos in the country. Wilson has 796 yards rushing on 120 carries this season for a 6.6 yards per carry average. QB Rasheed Marshall is an excellent rushing threat and has also proven he can execute the short passing game. Rasheed has rushed for 588 yards on 146 carries and 9 TDs. He is 122 of 232 for 1,278 yards and 8 TDs. Sophomore Miquelle Henderson, 6-2, 203 lbs leads the WVU receiving unit. He has 38 catches for 412 yards and 2 TDs. Cobourne is also a receiving threat. He has 15 catches for 146 yards this season. WVU has the No. 1 ranked rushing offense in the Big East. They are ranked No. 2 in the conference in total offense and scoring offense.

WVU also has a strong defense. They have an excellent run defense. They are ranked 3rd in the conference in run defense with only VT and Temple ranked ahead of them. 6-1, 230 lb junior Grant Wiley leads the defense. Wiley is one of the best linebackers in the conference and is a tough, hard-nosed player. Sophomore FS Jahmile Addae, 5-11, 197 lbs, leads the Big East with four INT's this season. Top performers on the defensive line are two standout seniors. Jason Davis, a 6-5, 295 lb defensive tackle, and David Upchurch, a 6-3, 285 lb defensive end, lead the way. Angel Estrada, a 6-1, 205 lb hard-hitting strong safety is another player that has played at an All-Conference level.

Phil Braxton is a dangerous kick returner also. The 6-3, 190 lb senior WR has excellent speed and is a threat any time he touches the ball.

It has been a long time since so much has been on the line for a Backyard Brawl football game. The winner will at least secure 2nd place in the conference and still have an outside shot at the conference championship. It is also very likely that the winner will receive a New Year's Day Gator Bowl invite. Pitt has won the last two in the series. They haven't won three in a row since the 1976-82 seasons when they won 7 in a row. The series began in 1895 and Pitt leads the series overall 58-33-3. The game is an expected sellout and will be televised by ABC nationally with kick-off at 1 p.m.

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