This has always been a good game. For many years, in the past, Pitt was dominant... But as of recent years it has been WVU that holds the upper hand... If, and only if, Pitts' defense shows thier brief glimpses of greatness in any regularity, this will be one helluva game this year...
WVU looks for revenge against an even stronger Pitt lineup
By Tony Dobies, Managing Editor
Issue Date: Tuesday July 29, 2008
The West Virginia University football team’s national championship dreams were dashed last season after its Dec. 1 loss to Pittsburgh, 13-9.
For the Panthers, it was a rebirth.
After the game, Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt signed a three year contract extension and brought in the Big East’s best recruiting class.
In addition to the newcomers, players who were injured for most of the 2007 season are expected to be back in 2008 and should make an impact.
Offense: WVU fans know the name of the Panthers’ starting running back LeSean McCoy.
In his first year as a starter for Pitt, he recorded 1,328 yards and 14 touchdowns.
In the Dec. 1, 2007 matchup against the Mountaineers, McCoy rushed for 148 yards.
In front of McCoy stands fullback Conredge Collins, one of the most underrated at his position. He is undersized and is a threat to run the ball.
The team will be in transition along the line, though, as only two starters return from last year.
The passing game was very inconsistent last season, as the starter at the beginning of the season, Bill Stull, had season-ending surgery on the torn ligament in his right thumb in his first game against Eastern Michigan.
Stull should be an improvement at the position, but now-sophomore Pat Bostick improved as the season went on.
Greg Cross, a more athletic option than both Stull and Bostick, is another candidate at the position.
Whoever wins the quarterback battle in fall camp will have a strong group of wide receivers to throw to – maybe the best in the Big East.
Derek Kinder was a 2006 Biletnikoff Award semifinalist before suffering an injury prior to the 2007 season and is back in 2008 for the Panthers.
Junior Oderick Turner led the team in receiving in Kinder’s absence, catching 36 passes for 496 yards and five touchdowns.
T.J. Porter is also back after catching 37 passes last year.
Tight ends Nate Byham and Dorin Dickerson will round out a powerful receiving corps.
It should help the team improve on last year’s numbers, which averaged just 178.1 yards per game through the air.
Defense: The defense, which halted the Mountaineers to just nine points in last year’s meeting, returns seven starters from that game.
The entire defense is filled with star power, led up front by an emerging talent at defensive end Greg Romeus.
Romeus recorded four sacks last year – tied for second on the team.
Mick Williams, at tackle, also improved greatly over last season.
Linebacker Scott McKillop led the nation in tackles last year with 151, and he returns to lead a very strong group of linebackers – all returning starters.
Outside linebackers Shane Murray and Adam Gunn combined for 119 tackles in 2007.
The secondary was one of the best in the nation last year – only giving up 167.3 yards per game.It returns two starters, corner Aaron Berry and free safety Eric Thatcher.
The Panthers’ defense might be even better, especially in terms of its depth, in 2008.