Notes, Quotes And Anecdotes

Notes, quotes and anecdotes from Pitt's 19-15 win against West Virginia in the 101st Backyard Brawl Friday at Heinz Field:

• The victory was the fifth for Pittsburgh due to a fourth-quarter comeback. The Panthers (8-3, 4-2) also came back to beat Iowa, Syracuse, South Florida and Notre Dame after trailing in the final quarter this season.

"The way we felt at halftime,'' Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said, "like we shot ourselves in the foot several times, didn't take advantage of some situations and opportunities that we had, the players could have been despondent.

"But our home-field crowd definitely played a part in keeping our players in the game and giving us an advantage, particularly down the stretch. We needed our home-field fans, and we appreciated them being here today.''

• While the game was supposed to be sold out, not all the seats were filled. The final attendance was 63,019, about two thousand short of capacity (65,050).

• Junior cornerback Jovani Chappel, who had been replaced in the starting lineup by redshirt sophomore Ricky Gary four straight games now, came up with his first career interception in the fourth quarter and returned it 14 yards to the 16. LeSean McCoy ran for 11 yards to the 5 and then finished the drive with a scoring run to get Pitt within two, 15-13. A false start by left tackle Jason Pinkston moved the Panthers further away from a two-point try, but quarterback Bill Stull's quarterback draw did not work.

"I have to say something about Jovani,'' Wannstedt said. "He stepped up after being benched a couple weeks ago. We've been starting Ricky Gary, but Jovani Chappel got a chance and came up with an interception. ... And it was great for this game to happen for our seniors on their last game at Heinz Field.''

• Pitt quarterback Bill Stull was 12-for-23 for 156 yards and one 30-yard TD toss to wideout Derek Kinder, but he was picked off twice -- once in the end zone -- and sacked twice -- losing a fumble on one occasion. It wasn't quite the followup that Stull wanted after his performance last week at Cincinnati.

"We felt like we could make some plays in the passing game, and we just didn't execute like we need to,'' Wannstedt said. "A couple of them were the decisions. They made a couple plays, but we just were not as sharp in the passing game as we thought we would be.''

Stull, as usual, stood tall in the interview room even more than he did in the pocket against the Mountaineers.

"We're going right now, and we're doing some good things,'' Stull said. "I need to do a little better in the passing game, but we'll get that worked out. ... It's a team game, and the other 10 guys came up to me and told me not to worry about it, that we would get it on the next series.

"And we ran the ball every time, all but one by Shady, and that's a credit to the guys up front. And our defense also played awesome. Both lines and our defense were the reasons we won this game, and Shady, of course.''

• McCoy's performance was the 13th 100-yard performance and sixth this season. He has played in just 23 career games. McCoy's touchdown total of 35 is second only to Tony Dorsett's career mark of 63 in four seasons.

• Fifth-year senior middle linebacker Scott McKillop led Pitt with seven total tackles, while sophomore safety Dom DeCicco and fifth-year senior linebacker Austin Ransom had six each. DeCicco's interception was his team-best third.

"We faced some adversity, some of it was our doing, but we overcame it,'' McKillop said. "We had a number of guys come up with big plays, Mick Williams, Jovani Chappel. I'm sure Bill Stull will tell you he could have played better, but he really came through in the end and did a great job in that final drive.''

• Fifth-year senior place-kicker Conor Lee now has a record 109 straight extra points made and 253 career points (fourth all-time at Pitt). However, he missed a 40-yard field goal that would have moved him past Andy Hastings (255 from 1914-16, '19) into third place.

• McCoy pointed out that while Pitt had not done too well against West Virginia in some previous games, that he was undefeated against the Mountaineers.

"I'm 2-0 against West Virginia, so that's great, and I know how big this rivalry is,'' McCoy said. "And we bounced back from that loss last week. We needed to get that nasty taste out of our mouth, and the only way to do that is to get a win. It's a big rivalry. We did a lot of damage to their program last year, and we answered all the critics with another win this year. Another big win.''

And did McCoy decide to reverse his comments from earlier this week the way he reverses field during a game?

"Nah, man ... I really don't feel like we've accomplished enough here yet,'' McCoy said. "That's the biggest thing. I want to put Pittsburgh back to where it used to be at. Pitt used to be a powerhouse, and we need to get back there.

"Coach Wannstedt is bringing in a lot of recruits, and we're going to be a real good team next year. So, I just want to be part of that and win a Big East championship. That's something we weren't able to get done this year.''

But Pitt definitely will go to a bowl game for the first time since the 2004 season. The destination just has not yet been determined.

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