Pittsburgh (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) travels to Morgantown this Saturday at 7:30pm ET to face West Virginia (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS). Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium hosts this game.
Last season, the Panthers easily won this matchup at home 38-31 as a 7.5-point favorite.
West Virginia opened their season at No.7 Penn State on September 2, suffering a 38-15 loss in which they were outmatched, giving up 405 yards through three quarters.
Last week, the Mountaineers made an impressive comeback against FCS Duquesnse at home and won 56-17. Running backs C.J. Donaldson Jr. and Jahiem White combined for 166 yards rushing. Defensively, they held FCS Duquesne to three yards on 28 carries while permitting 231 passing yards.
Mountaineers’ defense was not a strength last season, placing 115th in scoring defense (32.9ppg) and 110th in passing defense (110th). If their performances don’t improve significantly this time around, another subpar season is in store.
Pitt kicked off their season on September 2, home as an overwhelming 38-point favorite against FCS Wofford with an emphatic 45-7 win on September 2. Unfortunately, however, on September 09 at home against Cincinnati they fell 27-21 as a favorite of six points and needed 14 fourth-quarter points to keep it close until the final buzzer went. It was an unimpressive effort from Pitt who trailed 20-7 at half and needed 14 fourth-quarter points to keep things close until then end.
Phil Jurkovec, a transfer from Boston College and Notre Dame, completed passes for 179 yards. Unfortunately for him, however, his running game only produced 83 yards on 29 attempts; on defense, they allowed the Cincinnati’s Bearcats 216 rush yards.
Last season, Pitt was seventh in the nation regarding run defense, allowing just 98 yards per game. Due to talent leaving for the NFL, it may take time for them to improve this area of their game. Jurkovec is a hometown guy with injury and consistency issues throughout his career; thus, helping create an improved running game should be their top priority.
West Virginia does not have the home MOJO of the past and they don’t have a stout defense either. This will be a close game that Pitt pulls out at the end. Pitt 27 WVA 24.
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