Pitt leads the all-time series 57-33-3. Since 1988 WVU is 9-3-1 against the Panthers but only 3-2-1 at home, 6-1 at Pittsburgh. WVU and Pittsburgh has played every year since 1943! Last year Pitt topped WVU 38-28 behind Kevan Barlow's 272 yards and 4 TD's. The first meeting occurred in 1895, WVU won 8-0.
Pitt Players to watch:
QB-David Priestley, RB-Raymond Kirkley, WR-Antonio Bryant, WR - R.J. English, K- Nick Lotz, P-Andy Lee, DB/KR-Torrie Cox, CB-Shawntae Spencer, DE- Bryant Knight, CB - Shawn Robinson, S- Mark Ponko, LB- Lewis Moore
WVU - Phil Braxton (Foot) Out, Angel Estrada (Leg) Out, Brad Knell (Pinched Nerve) Questionable, Lance Nimmo (Knee) Questionable, Ken Sandor (Knee/Ankle) Questionable, Jason Brooks (Ankle) Questionable, Rick Sherrod (Knee) Probable, Grant Wiley (Hamstring) Probable, Lew Daniels (Knee) Probable.
Pitt - No significant injuries.
|WVU 3-7, 1-5
PITT 4-5, 3-3
|Sat. 11/24 12:00 PM|
|Series: Pitt 57-33-3|
|BCS: WVU-84 UP-65|
|Line: PITT -3|
|Stats & Trends|
The two-headed monster of senior Brad Lewis and freshman Rasheed Marshall will need to have an excellent game for the Mountaineers to win the Backyard Brawl and take 8 out of the last 10 games from the Panthers. The Panthers defense has been playing great over the past three games, allowing 7 points against Temple, 7 points against Virginia Tech (a block kick return) and 0 points against Rutgers. On the other hand, in their 5 loses they have allowed 37.8 points per game.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Mountaineers have looked great at times moving the ball and at other times couldn't move the ball the Blue & Gold News flag football team. Avon Cobourne will have a tough time finding running room against the Panther defense but if Cobourne could break off a couple of 10-15 yards runs, the passing lanes could open up the Lewis/Marshall and the Mountaineers may be able to punch it in the endzone. Which WVU offense will show up? Which Pitt defense will show up? The answers to these questions will be the deciding factor.
WVU defense vs. Pitt offense
The Mountaineer defense reverted back to some old bad habits against the Owls after seeing improvement over the past month. These bad habits can be resolved in one week, all it takes is attitude and what better game to show attitude than the Backyard Brawl? If WVU can come out of the tunnel with a tough, aggressive mindset the defense will give the Mountaineers a good shot at winning this game. The Panther running game is inexperienced and has averaged only 114 yds/game, which ranks them 92nd in the country.
The most interesting match-up of this game will be the top ranked Mountaineer pass defense against the potent Panther passing game and David Priestley. Over the last three games, all victories, the Panthers have averaged 260 yds/game passing and 9 touchdowns. Seniors Shawn Hackett, Rick Sherrod and Richard Bryant will need their 'A' game for what will be their last game as Mountaineers.
The Mountaineer and Panthers special teams are very similar and this match-up could be a toss-up. Both teams have very dangerous return men. Shawn Terry ranks 19th in the nation returning kicks (26.74 yds/return) and take one the distance at any time. For the Panthers, Antonio Bryant is as explosive as any player in the country and ranks 77th in the nation with an 8.42 average return.
WVU and Pitt both have solid punters but WVU will hold the edge in the kicking department if Brenden Rauh can return from a sprained ankle. Also, both teams have struggled on coverage teams and a breakdown in this area could go along way in determining the victor.
Picks to Click:
On Offense: Rasheed Marshall
On Defense: Kyle Kayden
Stat of the week:
In the last seven years, Pitt is 4-4 as a road favorite (1-24 as a road underdog). In the same time span, WVU is 4-8 as a home underdog. There have been 29 shutouts in this series, Pitt has 22 shutouts, WVU has 6 and there was a 0-0 tie in 1909.
Playing their last game as Mountaineers will be Richard Bryant, Antonio Brown, Shawn Swindal1, Shawn Hackett, Charlie Macinnis, Brad Lewis, Cooper Rego, Rick Sherrod, Brenden Rauh, Seth Abraham, Shawn Davis, Corey McIntyre, Jeremy Knapp, Zach Anglin, Kyle Kayden, Terrence Johnson, Frank English, Brad Knell, Jason Brooks, Antwan Lake, and Shawn Terry. Some are stars, some are record holders and some are role players but all are Mountaineers...forever! Thanks guys and good luck with your future endeavors!
The Backyard Brawl. This is it folks! The game is the most important game of the season for the Mountaineers and Panthers. The Blue and Gold needs to finish the season off on a winning note and send this group of seniors out on a high. The Panthers need this win and to beat UAB to gain a possible bowl birth. The Mountaineers would love nothing more than to send the Panthers home for the holidays....and they will! After last week, I doubt many procrastinators will pick WVU, but I've got a gut feeling that WVU will come out "straining" and send Walt Harris and his team home losers!
Score: WVU 17 - Pitt 14
Other Big East Games
Wahington 21 vs Miami 34
Boston College 24 vs Syracuse 17
California 31 vs Rutgers 14
UConn 13 at Temple 32