MORGANTOWN — Fights aren’t meant to be fairly, and that’s what West Virginia coach Neal Brown noticed within the “Yard Brawl” with Pittsburgh.
CJ Donaldson rushed for 102 yards and a landing earlier than getting damage and the Mountaineers scored 10 factors off two Pittsburgh interceptions to beat the Panthers 17-6 Saturday night time.
Nicco Marchiol got here on rather than the injured Garrett Greene to throw a brief TD cross for the Mountaineers (2-1).
Each groups struggled to get any passing sport going within the 106th model of the Brawl, which resumed a 12 months in the past following an 11-year hiatus.
Pittsburgh (1-2) was held to its fewest factors within the collection since a 34-0 loss in 1996. The Panthers have been restricted to 73 yards of offense within the second half. Every staff had precisely 211 yards total. However West Virginia acquired assist from Pittsburgh errors.
“They name it the ‘Brawl’ for a cause. That wasn’t a factor of magnificence,” Brown mentioned. “No matter what it was, it was a win for West Virginia.
“It was ugly, and we will play ugly ball.”
Pitt quarterback Phil Jurkovec had bother discovering his receivers for the second straight sport. The Panthers settled for 2 brief first-half subject targets after reaching the West Virginia 20.
“The distinction within the sport is turnovers,” Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi mentioned. “They made some performs on the ball. We didn’t. It’s onerous to win a soccer sport if you kick two subject targets and don’t rating touchdowns.”
Greene limped off the sector on West Virginia’s second collection and didn’t return. Marchiol fumbled the ball away within the second quarter, however Aubrey Burks intercepted Jurkovec two performs later, returning it 26 yards to the Panthers’ 7. That arrange Marchiol’s brief scoring toss to tight finish Kole Taylor. Marchiol completed 6 of 9 for 60 yards.
With Greene damage, Donaldson took issues into his personal palms. The sophomore ran for 48 yards on West Virginia’s first collection of the third quarter, which was aided by a defensive holding name that stored the drive shifting. Donaldson punched it into the tip zone from 1-yard out for a 14-6 lead.
“He’s an enormous again,” Narduzzi mentioned. “He’s bodily.”
However Donaldson was injured on a brief achieve early within the fourth quarter. He walked off the sector beneath his personal energy and didn’t return.
Pittsburgh’s Rasheem Biles blocked Oliver Straw’s punt and the Panthers took over on the West Virginia 48 trailing 17-6 with 8:19 left within the sport. However Jurkovec was stopped on fourth-and-1 on the 27. He was sacked on fourth down at his 13 on Pittsburgh’s subsequent collection, and later threw his third interception.
Jurkovec went 8 of 20 for 81 yards.
Narduzzi mentioned he plans to stay with Jurkovec as his starter.
“Obtained a number of religion in Phil,” Narduzzi mentioned. “I believed we protected him higher immediately than we did per week in the past.”
Pittsburgh: The Panthers have misplaced two straight and should determine what’s unsuitable with its offense getting into convention play that features 4 ranked opponents.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers want Donaldson and Greene again to have any likelihood of being aggressive in Massive 12 play. Their standing over the subsequent week will probably be intently watched. It marks the primary time since early within the 2021 season that West Virginia has a profitable file.
Brown mentioned he didn’t have an replace on Greene’s harm however anticipated Donaldson “to be wonderful.”
Donaldson broke an ankle in opposition to TCU final 12 months and missed the final 4 video games of the season.
“The place he’s recovered from the TCU harm, it scared him greater than something,” Brown mentioned.
Greene was positioned in a strolling boot and couldn’t put a lot weight on his foot.
“He would have favored to have gone again (in). I don’t assume he may have carried out, and so we simply decided” to maintain him out of the sport, Brown mentioned.
The coach mentioned he’ll know extra about Greene’s harm by Monday.
Pittsburgh hosts No. 20 North Carolina subsequent Saturday.
West Virginia performs its third straight residence sport in opposition to Texas Tech subsequent Saturday.
By The Related Press