West Virginia’s J.T. Thomas celebrates following a win against Pitt. WVU earned its first win over a top-10 team since beating Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl following the 2007 season.AP photo
West Virginia’s Noel Devine carries the ball against Big East rival Pitt on Friday. Devine ran for 134 yards in the Mountaineers’ win.AP PHOTO
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Noel Devine rushed for 134 yards and Tyler Bitancurt kicked four field goals, including a 43-yarder as time expired to lift West Virginia to a 19-16 win over No. 8 Pittsburgh on Friday night.
West Virginia (8-3, 4-2 Big East) halted Pittsburgh’s five-game winning streak and got a small measure of revenge for the last Backyard Brawl played in Morgantown. Back in 2007, the Mountaineers were a win away from playing for a national title when a sub-.500 Pitt team upset Pat White and Co. in Rich Rodriguez’s last game as West Virginia coach.
This loss was not nearly as damaging for the Panthers (9-2, 5-1), who can still earn the conference’s Bowl Championship Series berth with a win at home next week against No. 5 Cincinnati. The Bearcats beat Illinois 49-36 earlier Friday.
Pittsburgh was held out of the end zone on five drives inside the West Virginia 30 until Bill Stull found Jonathan Baldwin with a 50-yard TD toss with 2:54 left to tie the score at 16-16.
That gave Jarrett Brown enough time to move West Virginia 42 yards into position for the winning field goal.
Dion Lewis ran for 155 yards and Dan Hutchins kicked three field goals for the Panthers. Lewis, the nation’s fourth-best rusher, surpassed 100 yards for the sixth straight game. It marked the fourth straight game that West Virginia’s defense had allowed a 100-yard rusher.
West Virginia earned its first win over a top-10 team since beating Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl following the 2007 season. The Mountaineers also completed a perfect season at home for the first time since 1993.
West Virginia outgained the Panthers 369-325 and broke Pitt’s modest two-game winning streak in the Backyard Brawl. The Panthers have not won three straight since taking seven in a row from 1976-82.
Devine showed he had recovered from a sore ankle that limited him the past two games. He found a hole off left tackle and went 88 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter to break a 6-all tie.
With its passing game ineffective, Pittsburgh went to Lewis on six straight running plays early in the fourth. But Pittsburgh went back to the pass one time too many and Robert Sands intercepted Stull at the West Virginia 39. Brown then found Alric Arnett down the middle for 35 yards to set up Bitancurt’s third field goal. The 39-yarder put West Virginia ahead 16-6 with 10 minutes left.
Stull, one of the nation’s most improved passers this season, had maybe his worst game of the season. But late in the fourth quarter he completed three straight passes, including a TD toss to Baldwin. Stull finished 16 of 30 for 179 yards.
Fullback Ryan Clarke kept West Virginia’s ensuing drive alive by converting on fourth-and-1 at the Pittsburgh 36. Two more runs put the ball at the 26 with 3 seconds left for Bitancurt, and the Mountaineers’ sidelines erupted as his kick cleared with plenty of distance.
The first half was more of a Backyard Crawl with not much offense and several missed opportunities by both teams.
West Virginia ran seven plays before it got positive yards on offense. The Mountaineers went for touchdowns instead of two field goals early and came away with no points both times.
Pittsburgh didn’t have any better luck with a missed field goal and two straight three-and-outs before Hutchins kicked a 37-yard field goal with 3:21 left until halftime for the game’s first points.