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Pitt Beat West Virginia In The Return Of The Backyard Brawl On A Pick-Six Off A Wide Open Drop

After an 11-year absence, one of the great rivalries in college football made its return on Thursday night, as No. 17 Pitt played host to West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl to open the season.

The two teams stopped meeting after Pitt left the Big East for the ACC, with West Virginia ultimately ending up in the Big 12, but renewed what has often been a chaotic and wild rivalry for the first game of the season and picked up right where they left off. The game was filled with wild moments, starting as a defensive struggle before both teams started to find the end zone in the second half. The game had it all, from blocked punts to wild catches, but the game took its biggest and final swing in the late fourth quarter.

After West Virginia opted to punt on 4th and 1 from just across the 50 while leading 31-24, Pitt marched down the field for a game-tying touchdown with inside five minutes to play. On the ensuing possession, West Virginia picked up a first down and looked like they might go march for a game-winning score when JT Daniels hit Bryce Ford-Wheaton in the hands across the 50 yard line.

The problem was the Mountaineers star receiver didn’t haul in the catch, instead having the pass go straight through his hands, off his helmet, and fall into the waiting hands of M.J. Devonshire, who showed off his track speed on the return, taking it to the house for what became the game-winning touchdown.

It was a brutal drop in a game that featured more than a few, and while West Virginia would drive deep into Pitt territory on their final drive of the game, they would come up shy of a game-tying score by the narrowest of margins, as a 4th and 16 pass just bounced on the ground before a receiver could haul it in on the goal line.

For Pitt, it was an incredible escape to keep their lofty goals this season alive, while West Virginia will feel like they let a golden opportunity to take down their rivals and set themselves up for a big year slip through their fingers, quite literally.