The No. 17 Pitt outscored West Virginia 38-31 thanks to a late pick 6 in the Backyard Brawl revival.

MJ Devonshire gave Pitt his first victory over West Virginia since 2008.

Devonshire intercepted West Virginia’s JT Daniels on a tip pass and returned 56 yards for a touchdown, giving the Mountaineers a 38–31 win over the No. 17 pit with 2:58 remaining. Thursday night’s matchup was the first of a long-running rivalry known as the Backyard Brawl since 2011.

West Virginia took a 31-24 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining, but Pitt tied the game with 3:41 remaining after Kedon Slovis hit Israel Avanikanda with a 24-yard catch-and-run TD. Two plays later, Devonshire were in the end zone and the pits were adored by the biggest crowd in football history.

The Mountaineers had another chance to tie the game and almost had a great chance to do so. With 22 seconds remaining on his 4th down, Reese made an incredible dive near his line. The ball skidded across the grass.

Pitt’s late run was the third instance of the second half in which the team scored 14 consecutive points. The Panthers did it in the third quarter, leading 24-17, but lost the lead to the Mountaineers early in the fourth quarter.

West Virginia took the lead thanks to a run game that tormented the tired Pitt defense. I flew. However, West Virginia coach Neil Brown dodged an opportunity to go for it on 4th down with yards going just inside Pitt’s territory with just over six minutes remaining.

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 1: Rodney Hammond, Jr. #6 of the Pittsburgh Panthers takes the #2 position during a game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Acrichure Stadium on September 1, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Celebrate after rushing for a 6-yard touchdown in the quarter.  (Photo: Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Pitt beat West Virginia 1-0 for the first time in 14 years. (Photo: Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Instead, Brown opted to take the delay of the game penalty and punt to the pits. That punt set up Pitt’s 92-yard drive to tie the game.

Of those yards, all but four were also via passes. Offensive coordinator Mark Whipple went to Nebraska, wide receiver Jordan Addison, who acquired Biletnikov, moved to USC, and Heisman finalist QB Kenny Pickett went to the Steelers in the first round.

And while Pitt stayed focused on the run game on Thursday night, it was a wasted commitment. Kedon Slobis finished with just his 24 pass attempts, while the Panthers made his 29 rushing attempts. Slovis has 305 yards where he is passing 16 of 24 and could have done more. A potential long TD his pass to a wide-open Bab Means in the 3rd quarter ended up in Means’ hands.

The win means Pitt’s home matchup against Tennessee in Week 2 will be one of the big games of the weekend. The Vols easily beat Ball State at home on Thursday night and he is widely predicted to finish second in the SEC East. West Virginia, meanwhile, will lament a golden opportunity to start Brown’s pivotal fourth season with a rivalry game win, as the Mountaineers will face Towson in Week 2, the first time in Brown’s tenure. Aiming for his 6 or more wins in the season.

Leave a Comment