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Friday, November 25, 2011
Pitt leads WVU 20-14

By Andrea Adelson

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia showed it can run the ball, but special teams hurt the Mountaineers once again in the third quarter against Pitt.

Tavon Austin muffed a punt deep in Pitt territory, and the Panthers converted that into a 27-yard field goal by Kevin Harper. It was the second muffed punt of the game for the Mountaineers. But perhaps lucky for them, the defense has been able to hold Pitt to field goals both times it was pinned deep.

Still, Pitt took a 20-7 lead on that field goal. West Virginia answered with a touchdown to close the gap to 20-14, on a powerful run by Shawne Alston. That seven-play, 60-yard touchdown drive had 44 yards of rushing. In fact, West Virginia ran for 75 yards in the third quarter after having minus-2 yards on the ground at the half.

The Mountaineers had a chance late in the third quarter to seize momentum, but failed to convert a fourth-and-4 from their 30. Somehow Pitt is holding on without doing much on offense in the third quarter. The Panthers also are without starting running back Zach Brown, out with a bruised sternum. Pitt has lost its top two backs to injury this season, after Ray Graham was lost for the season with a torn ACL earlier in the year.