Run and Shoot: Brown provides WVU with spark

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Brown provides WVU with spark

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. -- Just when it appeared that entire season's work was about to go for nothing, reserve quarterback Jarrod Brown came off the bench and gave West Virginia's No. 2-ranked Mountaineers a spark that allowed them to take a 7-3 lead over Pittsburgh at halftime of the 100th Backyard Brawl.

West Virginia, ranked behind Missouri in the BCS poll and needing to win to advance to the BCS championship game in New Orleans on Jan. 7, seemed to be the latest victim of the jinx of the No. 2 team in the AP poll.

While his team was dominating play early, his normally sure-footed placekicker Pat McAfee had missed field goal attempts of 11 and 32 yards as the two teams played scoreless through a quarter and a half.

That would have been bad enough but then true disaster struck as quarterback Patrick White failed to get up after a short run. White, who had accounted for 1,216 total yards over the last four games, left to a concerned bench with an injury to his right -- non-throwing -- hand.

The injury was diagnosed as a dislocated thumb and was being evaluated at halftime.

Brown had to hustle in from the bench with little warmup on this cold night. Brown is no stranger to such situations. Last year he engineered a victory over Rutgers in the season's final game when White was injured, costing the Scarlet Knights a BCS bowl bid.

Brown took over a stagnant WVU offense with a third and 6 at the Pitt 45 and promptly scrambled 16 yards for the first down.

Brown next completed a 5-yard pass to Tito Gonzalez and a 15-yard pass to Noel Devine.

When it appeared the drive had stalled, WVU received the break it needed as Pitt linebacker Tommie Duhart was called for a personal foul when he hit offensive tackle Ryan Stanchek after the Panthers had stopped Brown on a third and 12 play.

Given that break, Brown ran to his left and into the end zone from the 6 as Pitt Coach Dave Wannstedt steamed, WVU taking a 7-0 lead.

The Panthers, however, finally responded with some offense, going down and getting a last-second field goal of 43 yards from Conor Lee to end the half with WVU in front 7-3.

Pitt held WVU just 140 yards in the first half. The Mountaineers average 478 yards a game.

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