West Virginia wins one-sided brawl against Pitt, 35-10

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The game is called the Backyard Brawl but Pitt clearly didn't come to this one ready for a fight as the West Virginia Mountaineers came into Heinz Field and just knocked the Panthers out.

West Virginia took advantage of three first-half turnovers by Pitt to build a seven-point lead, and used two touchdown passes in the third quarter to take control of the game before coasting to an easy 35-10 win before a crowd of 60,562.

Pitt got off to a rough start as Tino Sunseri's fifth pass was intercepted by West Virginia's Brandon Hogan, who returned it 53 yards to the Panthers' 2. Ryan Clarke ran for a touchdown on the next play and just like that, the Mountaineers led 7-0.

Sunseri rebounded, however, and a little later in the quarter led the Panthers on an 8-play, 59-yard drive. He tied the game when he hit Devin Street with an 8-yard touchdown pass.

Early in the second quarter, it looked like the Panthers were going to take a lead of some sort as they drove to the Mountaineers' 26 and faced a second-and-4, but Dion Lewis fumbled and it was recovered by Terence Garvin who returned it 29 yards to the 47.

Pitt's defense held and the Panthers went on the march again. But this time it was Ray Graham's turn to make a mistake as he fumbled and it was recovered by Hogan at the Pitt 46.

Two plays later Noel Devine caught a screen pass and scampered 48 yards down the sideline to the Panthers' 2. On the next play, Geno Smith hit Will Johnson with a touchdown pass.

West Virginia led 14-7 at the half and then, on its first possession, Smith hit Tavon Austin with a 71-yard touchdown pass to give the Mountaineers a commanding 21-7 lead.

After Dan Hutchins brought the Panthers to within 21-10 on a 42-yard field goal, Smith hit Austin for a 12-yard touchdown and a 28-10 lead, which is how the third quarter ended.

The Panthers had one more shot to get in the game, but a shotgun snap from Alex Karabin sailed over Sunseri's head on second-and-6 from the Mountaineers' 9 and it was recovered at the 24 by WVU's Scooter Berry.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Paul Zeise: pzeise@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1720


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