The Backyard Brawl is Back


Photo via Getty Images

Austin Lenhardt-Barley, Staff Writer

After 11 years, The Backyard Brawl is back and it did not disappoint at all.

West Virginia got the best of Pitt in their last meeting in 2011 winning 21-20. The rivalry has been going on since 1895 when they first met in Wheeling, West Virginia. Through 105 games of brawling, Pitt has won the most games with 62 while West Virginia has won 40 and tied 3. The game has always been chippy and played hard. That continued in the 2022 matchup with 69 points scored. 

#17 Pitt going into the game was favored by a touchdown and a half where they just came up short due to awful penalties. Kedon Slovis, the transfer quarterback from USC led the 17th-ranked Panthers going 16 of 24 with 308 yards and a touchdown. J.T. Daniels, a transfer quarterback from West Virginia, went 23-40 with 2 touchdowns and a game-ending interception that went through the hands of junior wide receiver Bryce Ford Wheaton. Ford Wheaton grabbed 9 receptions for 97 yards and 2 touchdowns. The junior wide receiver had a great first game looking promising for a breakout season in 2022-2023.

Both offenses struggled, only being able to score 10 points each. It wasn’t until the 3rd and 4th quarters where a total of 49 points were scored. West Virginia’s run game was unstoppable 190 total rushing yards while Pitts’ all mighty defensive line seemed to disappear through the game. Pitt struggled with discipline, plenty of penalties being the main reason that the Mountaineers were able to even stay in the game.

The environment and crowd did not disappoint with the tension building up for years now it was an electric place to be. Pitt students showed up big, filling the seats and leading to great college football. The game ended up coming down to the wire where Pitt needed a stop to get the ball back. JT Daniels dropped back and had a wide open Ford Wheaton with space. Daniels threw a perfect ball going straight through Ford Wheaton’s hands right into the Safety M.J Devonshires hands who would go and take it back for 6. West Virginia wasn’t done yet and with little time left drove down until a final play. The ball was perfectly placed and almost a touchdown but after further review turned out to be an incompletion.

Pitt won but barely and honestly were handed the game. West Virginia did everything they could to let Pitt win. Pat Narduzzi after the game states “We got a lot of things to clean up, but that’s how openers are.” The Panthers have a lot of things to fix if they want to keep that rank throughout the year, but for now they won a huge game.