Friday, November 27, 2009
West Virginia upsets Pitt 19-16
By Brian Bennett
Next week's Cincinnati-Pittsburgh game just lost a little luster.
But that's another story. Right now, the story is West Virginia and its big 19-16 win over No. 9 Pitt in the Backyard Brawl. Tyler Bitancurt made a 43-yard field goal with no time left for the win.
There was a lot of talk all week about how the Mountaineers hadn't had a signature win since the interim tag was taken off coach Bill Stewart's title. Well, now they've got it -- and over their most bitter rival. It's not quite revenge for 2007 -- Pitt can still win the Big East and go to the BCS, while West Virginia was knocked out of the BCS title game two years ago -- but this does take the Panthers out of the Top 10. And West Virginia now has a chance for the Gator Bowl.
West Virginia turned in an inspired defensive effort, shutting down one of the Big East's top scoring offenses and holding them without a touchdown until the final three minutes. That's when Bill Stull hit Jonathan Baldwin for a 50-yard touchdown bomb to tie the score.
But the Mountaineers mounted a winning drive, one in which Stewart went for it on fourth down and let the clock run down before the field goal attempt. All the fans who had criticized his clock and field management against Cincinnati and USF aren't complaining now.
Good for the Mountaineers, and also quarterback Jarrett Brown, who's had his share of scrutiny. Brown calmly led that winning drive.
How does Pitt bounce back from this to get ready for Cincinnati? And how much does this hurt the Bearcats' argument for the BCS title game since they'll no longer get to play a Top 10 team to close the year?
Those are all questions for next week. Tonight, the story is West Virginia's big win.