PITTSBURGH — A much-anticipated renewal of one of college football’s most storied rivalries is how West Virginia and Pitt start their 2022 season when the nearby schools clash in a 7 p.m. matchup airing on ESPN. It marks the 105th edition of a series that started in 1895, but hasn’t been played since 2011. Pitt has a 61-40-3 all-time advantage in the series, though West Virginia is 18-9-2 since 1983.
8:10 p.m. — The teams exchange punts, although the field position is significantly tilted in Pitt’s favor. The Panthers start at their 46 with 8:11 left in the first half. WVU got a big break on its most recent series when an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty got the Mountaineers off their goal line and produced a first down, but three straight incompletions followed, the first of which looked like it should’ve gone for a long gain to Ford-Wheaton, who couldn’t haul the pass in.
7:50 p.m. — SCORE: Daniels and Bryce Ford-Wheaton hook up on a 10-yard pass for the Mountaineers’ first touchdown this season. It came one play after true freshman CJ Donaldson’s 44-yard run — the longest for either team to this point. WEST VIRGINIA 7, Pitt 3, 12:45 2nd qtr
ANSWER. MOUNTAINEERS. 😤#WVUvsPitt pic.twitter.com/3aSWA7252Q
— West Virginia Football (@WVUfootball) September 1, 2022
7:40 p.m. — SCORE: Ben Sauls connects on a 42-yard field goal and Pitt produces the game’s first points on an 11 play, 73-yard drive. WVU cornerback Charles Woods was shaken up late in the drive. PITT 3, West Virginia 0, :37 1st qtr
7:28 p.m. — West Virginia fails to capitalize on excellent field position. The Mountaineers lined up to go for a fourth-and-4 from the Pitt 39, but a procedure penalty on left tackle Wyatt Milum, his second tonight, ultimately led to a punt. Straw gets off another good one that the Mountaineers down on Pitt’s 3.
7:20 p.m. — The Mountaineers force a three-and-out that features a Jared Bartlett sack of Kedon Slovis on third down. Pitt matches the Mountaineers with a 37-yard punt and WVU takes over at the Panthers’ 45 with 9:39 left in the first quarter.
7:14 p.m. — West Virginia picks up a pair of first downs on the opening sequence, both via passing plays, before the drive stalls. Following a 37-yard punt from true freshman Oliver Straw, the Panthers start their first series from their own 11-yard line. The Mountaineers’ offensive line did not feature Brandon Yates or Ja’Quay Hubbard at right tackle, but rather Doug Nester at right tackle and Jordan White at right guard.
7:05 p.m. — West Virginia’s captains for the opener: Linebacker Exree Loe, cornerback Charles Woods, offensive lineman Zach Frazier and defensive lineman Dante Stills. Pitt won the toss, deferred to the second half and the Mountaineers will start with the ball.
6:40 p.m. — No signs of a pregame skirmish or midfield dust-up between the two teams to this point. We are within a half hour of kickoff.
6:10 p.m. — West Virginia linebacker Tirek Austin-Cave and defensive linemen Jalen Thornton, Hammond Russell and Zeiqui Lawton are not dressed for tonight’s game. WVU head coach Neal Brown said Monday of his team’s injury situation, “We have a couple of guys that are questionable heading into it that I’m not going to talk about.”
Austin-Cave is a Miami transfer and Lawton, a Charleston native, is a Cincinnati transfer. Both are in their first season with the Mountaineers.
5:50 p.m. — Pregame warmups are ongoing as the 1-hour mark until kickoff approaches. Behind the end zone between both locker rooms, the Pitt student section has filled in and is nearly full.
The Mountaineers have arrived at Acrisure Stadium.
The Backyard Brawl kicks off at 7:06. pic.twitter.com/j5aPJendAA
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) September 1, 2022
5:30 p.m. — Pregame notes: A classy gesture inside the press box at Acrisure Stadium with seats 26 and 27 reserved in honor of the late Beano Cook and Mickey Furfari. Both Cook and Furfari were alive when the Mountaineers and Panthers last met. Today would’ve been Cook’s 91st birthday … Per the press box seating chart, representatives from 22 NFL teams are on hand: Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texas, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos, Washington Commanders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas Cowboys, Tennessee Titans, Las Vegas Raiders, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets.
Seats 26 and 27 in the press box at Acrisure Stadium are in honor of the late Beano Cook and Mickey Furfari for tonight’s Backyard Brawl. pic.twitter.com/O97TahkfJ3
— Greg Carey (@gcarey938) September 1, 2022
Your essential pregame links:
Setting the scene from Acrisure Stadium
Brown prepared for different challenges during game with Harrell in charge of offense
Slowing Pitt’s ground game vital for Mountaineers, who also must be wary of surprises and wrinkles
Quarterback JT Daniels set to lead WVU offense in first season with Mountaineers