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West Virginia Athletic Director Discusses Return of Backyard Brawl

Backyard Brawl

Backyard Brawl

One of the most anticipated matchups and biggest rivalries in college sports could be on the verge of being resumed in the not-so distant future. West Virginia vs. Pitt, better known as the "Backyard Brawl," is the historic rivalry between these two schools, which are separated by 75 miles.

One of the oldest in the nation, the rivarly had played out on the gridiron every year since 1942 until it came to an end following the 2011 matchup, a 21-20 Mountaineers victory in Morgantown. However, WVU's new athletic director told MetroNews Sportsline recently that he plans to reach out to Pitt once the Panthers appoint a new AD of their own.

According to new WVU AD Shane Lyons, the Backyard Brawl is on his list of things to work on in the near future. He hopes to resume the series by 2023, but nothing has been set yet by the athletic departments. One of the complications on resuming the series is due to the Mountaineers already having a full out-of-conference slate for the next few seasons, but Lyons wants the teams to renew the rivalry. Lyons is hoping to quickly develop a relationship with Pitt's new Pitt AD once that person is hired.

The Backyard Brawl has featured some of the best moments in each program's history. In 2007, the Panthers upset the then-No. 2-ranked Mountaineers 13-9 to knock WVU out of the consideration for a spot in the BCS National Championship Game.

One of the greatest moments in this rivalry came in 1994 when WVU quarterback Chad Johnston threw a game-winning, 60-yard touchdown pass to Zach Abraham with just 15 seconds remaining to propel the Mountaineers to a 47-41 victory.

Pat White (above) was the thorn in Pittsburgh's side while he was quarterbacking the Mountaineers. During the 2006 meeting, White became only the ninth player in college football history to run and pass for over 200 yards in the same game. The 45-27 West Virginia win was only noteworthy in that White and running back Steve Slaton each ran for 200 yards against the Panthers, becoming just the third tandem in NCAA history to do so.

The history is there for this series to resume without any love lost from either program, and given the recruiting battles the schools have been in the past few seasons, it would add to the rivalry's context.

Pitt leads the all-time series with a 61-40-3 record against their border-state rivals.

— Written by Jeremy Simon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and editor-in-chief of, a must visit for any and all West Virginia Mountaineer fans. Follow on Twitter @Blue_GoldSports.