Pitt stuns No. 2 WVU
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- The impossible happened.
In a college football season that defies belief or explanation, another upset has thrown the national picture into disarray.
No. 2 West Virginia, a 30-point favorite, was upset at home by unranked Pittsburgh, 13-9, in the 100th Backyard Brawl before a stunned sold-out crowd.
The Mountaineers needed to win to have a chance to advance to the BCS championship game.
Add WVU to the long list of ranked teams that have been inexplicably upset this year, especially those who held the No. 2 ranking that WVU held. Seven of the last nine weeks the No. 2 team in the Associated Press has been beaten, six times by uinranked teams.
Think back at them. Appalachian State over Michigan, Colorado over Oklahoma, Syracuse over Lousville, Stanford over Notre Dame, Navy over Notre Dame, Arizona over Oregon, Arkansas and Kentucky over LSU, Oregone State over Cal, Illinois over Ohio State, Rutgers over South Florida.
And now maybe the biggest of them all, for WVU was on the doorstep of its first national championship game.
"We picked a bad time to play our worst offensive game in years," said WVU Coach Rich Rodriguez.
The Panthers, helped by far too many WVU mistakes, rode a smothering defense and the running of freshman star LeSean McCoy, who gained 148 yards, to the victory.
Everything that could go wrong for West Virginia went wrong.
Quarterback Patrick White, who had compiled 1,200 total yards over the past four weeks, was first stuffed, then injured, then stuffed again. He missed half the second quarter, all of the third quarter and half of the fourth quarter with a dislocated thumb on his right hand.
There were two missed gimme field goals by WVU's placekicker Pat McAfee, who had hit 11 of 13 coming in. There was Steve Slaton, a Heisman finalist a year ago who has disappeared in the second half of the season, held to just 11 yards in nine carries, his long gain being only five yards.
Then there were the fumbles caused by Pitt's hard-hitting defense, that held WVU, who averaged 475 yards a game this year, to just 183 total yards, 104 on the ground. WVU fumbled five times and lost three of them.
The worst came leading 7-3 as the second half started, Vaughn Rivers making a long kickoff return before being hit from behind and losing the ball. That led a Pitt touchdown on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Pat Bostick for a 10-7 lead.
Then Brown, who had replaced White, fumbled just as he was being hit on a pass attempt to set up a Pitt field goal that made it 13-7.
"The whole thing was a nightmare. It was just a nightmare, a flat out nightmare," said Rodriguez, signing as he spoke. "These are kids. Sometimes things don't like kyou want them to for kids."
The Mountaineers finish the regular season 10-2. They are the Big East champions and will go to a BCS bowl but they will have to wait for another shot at a championship game.