Now that the 2011 Backyard Brawl is over, the rivalry between Pitt and West Virginia appears to be on hold. To judge from some of the ugly play this year, that may not be such a terrible thing, as Dejan Kovacevic jokingly (I think?) pointed out. The entire first half seemed jerry-rigged to annoy WVU fans, who endured penalties, repeated third-down failures, poor run defense, and downright awful punting (from Michael Molinari). Pitt jumped out to a 14-0 lead thanks to rushing touchdowns by Zach Brown and Isaac Bennett. WVU cut the lead in half with a Stedman Bailey touchdown reception in the second quarter, but the Mountaineers headed into the locker room with a 17-7 deficit.
In the second half, though, WVU's defense and run game suddenly came alive. After another Pitt field goal, Dustin Garrison and Shawne Alston led a run-heavy drive that resulted in an eight-yard rushing touchdown by Alston. And then came the sacks - the Mountaineers had two on Pitt's next drive, one on the drive after that, and then they kept coming. In the end, they had 10, with nearly all the damage coming late in the game. Julian Miller had four of those, tying a school record. Finally, Alston punched in a one-yard touchdown run to put the Mountaineers up 21-20, and they would keep that lead.
The Mountaineers still have a sliver of hope of going to a BCS bowl, but they'll need some help from Cincinnati to get there.
For more on Pitt, check out Cardiac Hill. For more on WVU, there's the Smoking Musket.