2007 Backyard Brawl
|2007 Backyard Brawl|
|Date||December 1, 2007|
|Stadium||Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium|
|Location||Morgantown, West Virginia|
|United States TV coverage|
|Announcers||Mike Patrick, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe|
The 2007 Pittsburgh vs. West Virginia football game (also known simply as 13–9) was a college football game held in Morgantown, West Virginia that marked the 100th Backyard Brawl. Unranked and 4–7 Pitt, a 28½ point underdog, pulled the upset over archrival WVU who, coming into the game, was ranked second in the BCS and AP Poll and first in the Coaches' Poll. By upsetting West Virginia in the Mountaineers' regular season and home finale, the Panthers knocked WVU out of what had been assured to be their first appearance in a BCS National Championship Game and a shot at their first ever National Championship. The game was one of the most important Backyard Brawls in the series history, one of the biggest upsets in both Pittsburgh and West Virginia history, one of the biggest upsets of the season, and was voted as the "Game of the Year" by ESPNU.
The Mountaineers could never get their high-powered offense going against the Panthers and were hurt by fumbles, missed field goals, and an injury to star quarterback Pat White, who missed most of the game after dislocating his thumb in the second quarter. Trailing by one possession late in the fourth quarter, West Virginia twice had the ball in Pitt territory. White had just returned but both times failed to convert on fourth down plays. The final Pitt possession saw the underdogs run the ball out of the back of the end zone for an intentional safety as time expired. West Virginia's kicker Pat McAfee missed two field goals in the game and Pitt's kicker Conor Lee missed one.
- WVU - Jarrett Brown 6 Yd Run (Pat McAfee kick) WVU 7–0
- PITT - Conor Lee 48 Yd field goal WVU 7–3
- PITT - Pat Bostick 1 Yd Run (Conor Lee kick) PITT 10–7
- PITT - Conor Lee 18 Yd field goal PITT 13–7
- WVU - Ball Through End Zone PITT 13–9
The outcome of the game was met with stunned silence from Mountaineer fans while a small number of Pittsburgh fans were cheering in similar shock. At Pitt's campus in Pittsburgh, large numbers of students began forming in different locations of the Oakland neighborhood. In addition to the crowds a sofa chair was burned in front of the university's Cathedral of Learning, mocking the WVU tradition of burning couches after big wins.
Several football recruits that were visiting West Virginia for the game ended up cheering with the Panthers on their side line by the end of the game. Several of them later decided to play for Pitt over West Virginia. The game was briefly seen as a turning point in Coach Dave Wannstedt's early tenure at Pitt, during which he had struggled and seemingly stagnated. However, Wannstedt was later fired following the 2010 regular season. The trickle-down effect of West Virginia being knocked out of the BCS Championship has been speculated to have had a major impact on the bowl placement of many teams and the filling of various head-coaching positions. Most prominently affected was LSU, who slid into WVU's slot and ended up winning the BCS Championship.
The game turned out to have a profound impact on the future of Michigan, which was in the midst of a search to replace retiring coach Lloyd Carr. Two weeks after the loss, Michigan hired Mountaineers coach Rich Rodriguez as Carr's successor. Had West Virginia beaten Pitt, Rodriguez likely would not have left West Virginia and passed up the chance to play for a BCS National Championship, and Michigan would have had to look elsewhere for its coach. Michigan fired Rodriguez after the 2010 season.
The game was named as the "Game of the Year" by ESPNU and other publications. It was also the first time the Panthers defeated a 2nd-ranked opponent since their 24–20 win over Georgia in the 1982 Sugar Bowl.
West Virginia's season ended on a positive note, however, as it was elected to play in the Fiesta Bowl against the Oklahoma Sooners. The Mountaineers avenged their devastating loss to Pitt with a convincing 48–28 win over the 3rd-ranked Sooners.
- Associated Press (2007-12-01). "Pitt throws curveball at BCS with win over No. 2 WVU". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08.
- Antonik, John (2009-11-26). "Pitt Preview". MSNsportsNET.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08.
- Zeise, Paul (2009-11-27). "Pitt Football: Panthers' '07 win triggered changes". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, PA. Retrieved 2010-04-08.
- Gorman, Kevin (2007-12-21). "100th Brawl voted ESPNU.com Game of Year". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2011-04-10.