WATCH: Pitt Six sends No. 17 Panthers over West Virginia in thrilling Backyard Brawl renewal – CBS Sports

WATCH: Pitt Six sends No. 17 Panthers over West Virginia in thrilling Backyard Brawl renewal - CBS Sports

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The 105th edition of Backyard Brawl lived up to all the hype that its renewal brought after an 11-year hiatus where the game delivered an instant classic that saw #17. Pittsburgh victory after scoring two touchdowns in the final 4 minutes, the latter score being a game-winning pick six. The Panthers win snapped a three-game losing streak in the series, which based on the hiatus made it Pitt’s first win at West Virginia since 2008.

Pitt first got itself back into the game when quarterback Kedon Slovis threw a touchdown to Israel Abanikanda, capping a 92-yard drive with the game-tying score. Less than 60 seconds later, MJ Devonshire hauled in an overturned ball, shoeing it 56 yards down the field for an interception return score that synchronized the Pitt Six to put the Panthers ahead for a touchdown in the 38-31 victory.

The one-two punch of clutch scores sent the crowd of 70,622 into a frenzy shortly after West Virginia stole all the momentum with two touchdowns of its own early in the fourth quarter. The interception itself was a bit of a lucky bounce for the Panthers as Mountaineers wide receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton — WVU’s player of the game to that point with nine catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns — saw the ball bounce right out of his hands. and into the mittens of the opposition.

West Virginia had a chance to offer an answer, marching into Pitt territory and even getting a fourth-down fumble from JT Daniels to the goal line that was close enough to a catch to be reviewed in the game’s 30 seconds. But the relentless pressure from Pitt’s defense proved to be too much in the game’s closing moments, and the play in question was ruled incomplete.

After the game, Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi told ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt that he was “miserable” at how much the Panthers had to clean up from their performance moving forward. Pitt was favored to win that hotly contested rivalry game, but that status didn’t come with the expectation of needing two late touchdowns to escape with a win.

Pitt hit some big plays with Slovis, but an experienced and talented Panthers defense also found itself chasing rather than dominating for extended stretches of the game. The reigning ACC champions emerged with a win but also with a lot of work to do as to whether they will defend that title against the likes of #4. ClemsonNo. 13 NC State and No. 16 miami.

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