Focus On Pitt

Although WVU doesn't control its bowl future, there is still some excitement around the West Virginia program. After going on the road and defeating Louisville, West Virginia has moved quickly on to preparations for the 101st Edition of the Backyard Brawl.

Before discussing that, however, there was the matter of the record-setting accomplishments of quarterback Patrick White. WVU head coach Bill Stewart took time on Monday to give his quarterback some well-deserved praise.

"Pat never ceases to amaze me. You never want to say that one player is bigger than the team -- because we have some good football players on this team -- but Pat White has put this team on his back and really let the team grow this season," Stewart said.

White once again finished as the Big East offensive player of the week, rushing for 200 yards and three touchdowns, and adding 122 yards through the air and an additional two scoring passes. White also became the NCAA all-time leading rusher for quarterbacks with 4,292 career rushing yards. White further cemented himself this past week as one of the best college football players ever, and will look to continue his success against rival Pittsburgh on Friday at Heinz Field where he and Steve Slaton ran wild two years ago.

Pittsburgh head coach Dave Wannstedt has observed that he felt the Mountaineers had put the ball back in Pat White's hands the last couple weeks – a notice that Stewart doesn't necessarily agree with.

"Our goal was to get Patrick through the season and we wanted to try and win as many games as possible with a passing attack, so I don't think we ever really took the ball out of his hands," Stewart said. "This is going to be an exciting game on Friday and I don't believe in revenge. This is simply another game for us and we're going to be in for a battle but we're going to do our best to win."

Stewart said his team will have other motivations to win the game on Friday that would not include revenge for a 13-9 loss last season that prevented the Mountaineers from playing for the national championship.

When asked if the new turf at Heinz field will play a role in the game on Friday Stewart said that he doesn't expect it to be a factor.

"We don't care where we play, we just want to play and as long as they are standing on the same surface as we are then it won't matter," Stewart said. Stewart didn't want to relive to painful memories of last season's loss but said that a lot has happened since then and his team has moved on. "There was a lot of heartache after the loss last season but you just have to move on, and we bounced back with a good win against Oklahoma. That was 2007, this is 2008 and a new year."

Stewart also went on to discuss some of the challenges the Mountaineers will face on Friday.

"Pittsburgh is playing well right now. They lost a hard fought game against Cincinnati but their defense is really playing well right now and they are a well coached team," Stewart said. "I can't imagine a more exciting game, Heinz field is a beautiful stadium with an electrifying atmosphere so we're excited for this game," Stewart said.

The Mountaineers are 4-1 in conference and still have a chance to win the conference outright with two games remaining on their schedule, but would need a Cincinnati loss to Syracuse. They can also share the league title by winning out, but would only get the Big East's BCS bowl bid if Cincinnati loses to Syracuse.


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