Countdown to Kickoff

  • By John Antonik
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  • November 25, 2010 09:18 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – It’s Backyard Brawl No. 103 for West Virginia and Pitt Friday afternoon at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. West Virginia (7-3, 2-2) and Pitt (6-4, 4-1) are both entertaining hopes of a Big East title.

The Panthers control their own destiny if they can win out against West Virginia and Cincinnati, while the Mountaineers need wins in their last two games against Pitt and Rutgers and a loss by Connecticut to get into the conference title picture.

One of the nation’s longest continuous college football rivalries, the Backyard Brawl has also been one of the most competitive of late. West Virginia and Pitt have split the last 10 games in the series and West Virginia holds a 23-20-2 record during the last 45 games. In the last 21, West Virginia is 13-7-1.

Coincidentally, both teams own identical 26-11 record over the last 37 games. Before the game, Pitt will recognize its 11 seniors.

MSN’s radio coverage (Tony Caridi, Dwight Wallace, Hoppy Kercheval and Jed Drenning) begins with The Mountaineers Today at 11 a.m. Satellite radio listeners can access the MSN broadcast on Sirius channel 121 and the Best of XM channel 141.

Kickoff is set for noon with ABC (Beth Mowins, Ray Bentley and Quint Kessenich) televising the game nationally.

Here is Friday’s Countdown to Kickoff:

10 – West Virginia has TEN scoring drives of 10 plays or longer this year. Last week at Louisville, the Mountaineers had a pair of 10-play scoring drives that resulted in points. WVU has had two 16-play drives that ended with points against Coastal Carolina and Maryland.

9 – This season marks the NINTH consecutive year the Mountaineers have become bowl eligible.

8 – Riding on today’s game is West Virginia’s streak of having at least five Big East victories in EIGHT straight seasons dating back to 2002. The Mountaineers have not finished lower than second place in the conference standings since then.

7 – Both teams combined to kick SEVEN field goals in last year’s Backyard Brawl in Morgantown. Since 2007, the two teams have combined to kick 12 field goals, an average of four per game.

6 – West Virginia picked up its SIXTH road victory under Coach Bill Stewart last weekend at Louisville. Stewart’s road wins have come at Connecticut and Louisville in 2008, at Syracuse and Rutgers in 2009, and at Marshall and Louisville this season.

5 – West Virginia ranks FIFTH nationally in sacks with 32. Junior Bruce Irvin leads the Mountaineers with 10 sacks, followed by Julian Miller’s four. Miller still has the most career sacks with 16 ½ entering the Pitt game.

4 – The Mountaineers have lost only FOUR times since 2002 when they win the turnover battle. West Virginia’s record during that span when it acquires more turnovers than its opponent is 58-4.

3 – During the last THREE games the two teams have combined for just eight touchdowns and are averaging less than 300 yards of total offense per game.

2 – West Virginia’s defense is SECOND in the nation in fewest first downs allowed, permitting an average of just 12.6 per game so far this season.

1 – Wide receiver Jock Sanders needs just ONE catch to pass David Saunders as West Virginia’s all-time leading pass catcher. Sanders and Saunders both have 191 career receptions.

Enjoy Friday's game and be sure to stop back afterward for complete postgame coverage.