The 'Backyard Brawl' is here, with West Virginia's solid rushing attack hosting Jurkovec, Pittsburgh
Thu, Sep 14, 2023
NCAAF News (AP)
Pittsburgh (1-1) at West Virginia (1-1), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
Line: West Virginia by 1 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook.
Series Record: Pittsburgh leads 62-40-3.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
It's the 106th edition of the "Backyard Brawl" between the schools 75 miles apart. It's also a critical game for West Virginia coach Neal Brown, whose job security is in question. Brown is 23-26 in his fifth season.
Pittsburgh's defense against West Virginia's rushing attack. The Panthers allowed 216 rushing yards in a 27-21 home loss to Cincinnati last week, while the Mountaineers ran for 304 yards in a 56-17 win over FCS school Duquesne. West Virginia's CJ Donaldson will be the focus, but Pittsburgh will have other runners to worry about. That includes mobile quarterback Garrett Greene, who ran for 71 yards in the season opener at Penn State. Freshman Jahiem White had 110 yards and a score, all in the second half, against Duquesne.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Pittsburgh: QB Phil Jurkovec. The graduate transfer from Boston College has four TD passes in two games and has been sacked six times. He completed just 10 of 32 pass attempts last week. He could get a boost from a West Virginia secondary that has a knack of giving up big plays so far. The Mountaineers are allowing 282 passing yards per game.
West Virginia: WR Hudson Clement. The redshirt freshman is coming off a 177-yard, three-touchdown receiving performance last week. He's certain to get a bigger challenge from the Panthers, who have given up three passing TDs through two games.
FACTS & FIGURES
The series picked back up last year after an 11-year hiatus. ... The late Frank Cignetti Sr. was West Virginia's head coach from 1976-79. His son, Frank Cignetti Jr., is Pittsburgh's current offensive coordinator. ... West Virginia has won seven of the last 10 meetings in Morgantown. ... M.J. Devonshire's 56-yard interception return for a touchdown gave Pittsburgh a 38-31 victory in last year's game. ... West Virginia has 13 players on its roster from the state of Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh has no players from the state of West Virginia. ... The Mountaineers have won seven of the last 10 games in the series played at home. The last one occurred in 2011.
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