clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

SOLON'S THURSDAY NIGHT SPECIAL: THE BACKYARD BRAWL

New, 15 comments

Solon gives you a quick fix for Thursday night. He's your mama, he's your daddy, he's that gambler in the alley...

THURSDAY:

West Virginia (-11) v. PITTSBURGH

If West Virginia had a hangover from losing to Louisville, they did not show it last week. And, the chances are good that they will have the bit between their teeth now; with Rutgers' ascension, and a home game looming against the Scarlet Knights, a BCS berth is certainly within WVU's range, and a berth in the title game is not out of the question either. What looked like a promising season for Pitt has crumbled recently; they have losses in their last three games, and in retrospect the only impressive win on the schedule looks to be against Cincy in week two. Pitt's biggest weakness this season has been their run D; they were run over by Michigan State early (335 yds), and while they have stopped some lesser run offenses over the course of the season, both Rutgers (268 yds) and UConn (339 yds) have torn them up in the last couple of weeks. West Virginia's running game will provide little comfort for the Pitt D; WVU has only failed to hit 259 yds once this season, and I rate them as the best rushing attack in the nation. Pitt's running game has been an effective weapon on occasion, but usually it is only a factor against weaker run defenses; e.g., they averaged 5.37 ypc v. Toledo, Syr, UCF, and UConn, but only 2.79 ypc against UVa, Cincy, Rutgers, and USF. Outside of Rutgers, this will probably be the best run D they have faced; only three teams have hit 100 yds rushing against WVU this season, and two of those only just hit that number (Md, 105 yds/31 carries; Lou, 107 yds/30 carries). Pitt's strength, of course, is its passing game; QB Palko has developed as a passer this season and now rates a dangerous opponent. However, his production is much less against strong pass defenses; Syracuse, Rutgers, and South Florida all held him to under 200 yards and Pitt only managed to score 21, 10, and 12 points in those games as Palko piled up only 6.95 ypp with a 3-3 ratio. The WVU pass D is legit; Louisville shredded them but that in and of itself is not cause for concern. Against the next best QBs they have faced (Md QB Hollenbach, ECU QB Pinkney, and Syr QB Patterson), WVU has only given up 5.55 ypp with a 4-4 ratio. Palko is certainly better than those QBs--and has a better set of WRs--but I think the WVU pass D will hold him in check and the Pitt O will not be able to keep up with a WVU O that has not scored less than 27 points since QB White has become the starter.


Pat White: so fast he runs the drunk off the first row of Mountaineer fans.