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Devonshire’s late Pick 6 lifts No. 17 Pitt over WVU, 38-31

PITTSBURGH (AP) Pittsburgh cornerback MJ Devonshire spent some of the summertime watching highlights of old Backyard Brawls wondering what it could be prefer to make among the iconic plays in a a string whose history stretches to the 19th century.

He doesnt need to wonder anymore.

Devonshire snagged a pass that caromed off the hands of West Virginia wide receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton and raced 56 yards to the finish zone with 2: 58 remaining because the Panthers rallied for a 38-31 victory Thursday night in the return of the Brawl carrying out a 10-year hiatus.

That is one of the biggest rivalries in college football and I simply did something crazy Im likely to reach tell my kids about, Devonshire said.

The Panthers had just tied it on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Kedon Slovis to Israel Abanikanda with 3: 41 to go. Four plays later, West Virginia quarterback JT Daniels found a wide-open Ford-Wheaton and then start to see the ball smack of Ford-Wheatons hands and settle into Devonshires awaiting arms.

The Pittsburgh-area native who started his college career at Kentucky before coming home in 2021, felt his old punt returner skills come flooding back as he weaved his way through traffic to provide Pitt its second score in 43 seconds to show a seven-point deficit right into a lead the Panthers wouldnt relinquish.

I simply knew I had to perform as fast when i could, Devonshire said.

The Mountaineers drove deep into Pitt territory in the ultimate minute and Daniels hit Reese Smith on a fourth-down fling that seemed to bring the ball to the Pitt 1.

Briefly anyway. Replays showed the ball skimmed the turf before Smith could take it in and the crowd of 70,622 the biggest to wait a sporting event in the citys history erupted.

Theyve got an extremely good football team and I respect them a whole lot, I must say i do, West Virginia coach Neal Brown said. But we made a lot of mistakes, too.

Pitt turned two Mountaineer turnovers into touchdowns.

Southern California transfer Kedon Slovis threw for 308 yards and a touchdown in his debut with the Panthers in the opener for both teams. Rodney Hammond ran for 74 yards and two touchdowns before leaving in the fourth quarter due to a right leg injury that appeared serious.

Daniels, seeking to revive his career following stints at USC and Georgia, completed 23 of 39 passes for 214 yards with two touchdowns to Ford-Wheaton and the pick that Devonshire converted into Pitts first victory over its longtime rivals since 2008.


The Mountaineers piled-up 190 yards on the floor, but fourth-year coach Neal Brown didnt feel confident enough in his running game to do it now on fourth-and-1 at the Pitt 48 midway through the fourth quarter and his synergy 31-24.

Daniels prearranged in order to draw the Panthers offside so when he didnt, the Mountaineers punted.

Pitt didnt waste the chance. Slovis led the defending ACC champions 92 yards in seven plays, the final on a flip to running back Israel Abanikanda where he slipped through three tackles for a 24-yard touchdown.

Brown said afterward he’d punt again, pointing to the opportunity to supply the Panthers an extended field and just how West Virginia had stuffed Pitt on its previous series, sacking Slovis twice along the way.

EASILY had to accomplish it again, I’d do this same decision, Brown said.


West Virginia: Brown likely needs the Mountaineers to have a step of progress in 2022 to engender just a little job security. While Daniels definitely appears to be an upgrade at quarterback, his coach is still snake-bit in tight games. His inability to trust an offensive line that held its against a defensive front that expects to be one of the better in the ACC or even the united states was curious and ultimately, costly.

Pitt: The Panthers are aiming even greater than the ACC crown the claimed last winter. The schedule is user-friendly even though Slovis needed time and energy to get heated up, he did a reasonably solid impression of former Pitt star Kenny Pickett, who helped unfurl the ACC championship banner he led the Panthers to in 2021 on his solution to being truly a Heisman Trophy finalist and a first-round NFL draft pick.


The Panthers will stick in the poll for another straight week and may rise a little based on results elsewhere this weekend.


West Virginia: The Mountaineers open Big 12 play in the home on Sept. 10 against Kansas. West Virginia has won eight straight contrary to the Jayhawks.

Pitt: The Panthers welcome Tennessee on Sept. 10. Pitt edged the Volunteers 41-34 in Knoxville last September.


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