For fans all across the country, the 2007 season was sheer insanity. That was the case from opening week through bowl season.
In a season full of stunners, one of the biggest came on this day 15 years ago. In front of a capacity crowd in Morgantown, Pittsburgh knocked off No. 2 West Virginia, 13-9.
Setting the Stage
Having already clinched the Big East with a rout of No. 20 Connecticut the week before, West Virginia was 10-1 and ranked second in the country as it arrived at Mountaineer Field on Dec. 1, 2007. West Virginia was one win away from a shot at a national championship.
Under third-year head coach Dave Wannstedt, Pittsburgh was a dismal 4-7 and had lost seven of nine. In its rivalry with West Virginia, known as the “Backyard Brawl”, the Panthers had lost two straight by a combined 50 points and four of five overall.
Pitt Pulls the Stunner
West Virginia was dealt a big blow early when quarterback Pat White left the game with a dislocated thumb, but it looked as though that wouldn’t matter. Backup Jarrett Brown got the scoring started late in the first half with a rushing touchdown to give the Mountaineers a 7-0 lead. That would be one of their few highlights.
A West Virginia team that was among the nation’s leaders in scoring was held to just 183 yards and turned the ball over three times — all on fumbles. Pitt kicked a field goal on the final snap of the first half before Pat Bostick rushed for its lone touchdown of the night on the opening drive of the second half.
White tried to play through the pain in the second half, but could provide no spark. Pittsburgh kicker Conor Lee’s second field goal midway through the final quarter pushed the lead to six. The Mountaineers’ final two drives ended on downs. The Panthers ran out the end zone to give West Virginia a safety on the final play of the game.
Pitt finished with just 225 yards in the victory. Running back LeSean McCoy rushed for 148 yards on 38 carries.
Recap and box score:
After finishing 5-7 in 2007, Wannstedt would conclude his Pitt tenure with three straight winning seasons. On the other sideline, the stunning loss would be the last game at West Virginia for head coach Rich Rodriguez, who left his alma mater for Michigan. Rodriguez was fired after three seasons in Ann Arbor.
As for the Mountaineers, they would circle the wagons and beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl under Bill Stewart, 48-28. West Virginia finished 11-2 and No. 6 in the final polls. A loss to its most bitter rival, however, would keep it from competing for a national championship. That loss came on this day 15 years ago.
Featured image: Associated Press