PITTSBURGH PANTHERS at WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS
Milan Puskar Stadium (60,000/FieldTurf)
Friday, November 25 • 7 p.m. • ESPN
ESPN — Joe Tessitore and Rod Gilmore
Pittsburgh Radio National Radio West Virginia Radio
KDKA-FM 93.7 (flagship) BIG EAST/IMG Sports Radio Network WAJR-AM 1440 (flagship)
John Rooke and Peter Brock
THE GAME • THE BACKYARD BRAWL
The Backyard Brawl is the oldest and most-played active BIG EAST rivalry … Pittsburgh and West Virginia first met in 1895 and have played 103 times prior to Friday’s game … The schools have met every year since 1943 … Pittsburgh holds a 61-39-3 series lead … West Virginia took last year’s Brawl 35-10 at Heinz Field … The most memorable recent matchup was in 2007, when Pittsburgh scored a 13-9 win in Morgantown to keep West Virginia from a likely spot in the BCS National Championship Game.
PITTSBURGH (5-5, 3-2 BIG EAST)
Todd Graham (East Central ’87)
5-5, first season at Pittsburgh
48-28, fifth season as collegiate head coach
Pittsburgh needs one win in its remaining two games to secure bowl eligibility and would win at least a share of its second straight BIG EAST title by winning both remaining games … The Panthers are 4-0 when scoring at least 35 points and 1-5 when they have been held to fewer than 35 points … Pitt has been plagued by injuries, including an Oct. 26 game against Connecticut that claimed three starters with season-ending injuries … Among the casualties from that game was RB Ray Graham, who was the nation’s second-leading rusher at the time … QB Tino Sunseri has thrown for 2,037 yards and nine touchdowns with eight interceptions this season … RB Zach Brown has taken over as the regular tailback following Graham’s injury … WR Devin Street leads the team with 39 receptions for 572 yards and two touchdowns … LB Max Gruder is second in the BIG EAST in tackles (90, 9.0 per game) … DT Aaron Donald leads the BIG EAST with nine sacks … DT Chas Alecxih has 4.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss.
WEST VIRGINIA (7-3, 3-2 BIG EAST)
Dana Holgorsen (Iowa Wesleyan ’93)
7-3, first season
West Virginia has won two of its last three games following a 24-21 win at Cincinnati Nov. 12 … Like Pittsburgh, the Mountaineers would win at least a share of the BIG EAST title with wins in their last two games … West Virginia has finished no lower than second in the BIG EAST standings in each of the past nine seasons … The Mountaineers lead the BIG EAST in scoring offense (36.8 ppg), total offense (479.4 ypg) and passing offense (362.1 ypg) … QB Geno Smith is ranked sixth nationally in passing (349.7 yards per game) … Smith has completed 269 of 417 passes for 3,497 yards and 24 touchdowns with five interceptions … Smith needs 527 yards to tie the BIG EAST’s single-season record of 4,024 yards, set by Louisville’s Brian Brohm in 2007 … WR Stedman Bailey is averaging 103.7 receiving yards per game to lead the BIG EAST … Bailey has 57 catches for 1,037 yards and 10 touchdowns … WR Tavon Austin is second nationally in all-purpose yards (196.4 ypg) … RB Dustin Garrison leads the team in rushing (600 yards, five touchdowns) … DB Darwin Cook and LB Najee Goode have a team-high 69 tackles each.