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Record-breaking crowd of more than 70,000 turns out for the return of the Backyard Brawl in Pittsburgh

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Record-breaking crowd shows up for the return of the Backyard Brawl in Pittsburgh… as a late pick-six West Virginia sinks in front of more than 70,000 fans in a stadium that HAS TOUCHED beer

  • Thursday saw the rebirth of a rivalry that has been absent from the NCAA calendar since 2011
  • A record audience — struggling to find booze — saw Pittsburgh WVU. defeat
  • Late touchdowns — one, a 24-yard catch, the other a pick-6 — gave the Panthers their first win over their sworn foes since 2008

Week 1 of the college football season kicked off with the resurrection of a classic rivalry that’s been dormant for more than a decade.

In the first “Backyard Brawl” between the Pittsburgh Panthers and West Virginia Mountaineers since 2011, we saw a record attendance for a sporting event in Pittsburgh, a stadium that reportedly ran out of beer, and a wild ending that might have made the wait worth it.

The game started at the new Acrisure Stadium – formerly Heinz Field – in Pittsburgh, in front of a crowd of 70,622 people.

That set a record to the largest audience for any game in the city’s long and rich sports history, defeating Pittsburgh’s professional sports teams, including the Steelers, the Pirates, and the Penguins.

By running back Rodney Hammond Jr’s 2 touchdowns, Pittsburgh won over West Virginia

Georgia transfer QB JT Daniels started - and lost - his first game in a West Virginia uniform

Georgia transfer QB JT Daniels started – and lost – his first game in a West Virginia uniform

Whether those fans were happy at all is another question, as a reporter said documented his struggles to try and find a beer in the newly baptized field.

Sean Gentille of the Athletic reported that a man wearing mango White Claws “screamed, ‘THIS IS ALL THEY HAVE'” as he struggled to find a brew.

Drinks or not, those who came out were treated to an exciting game from start to finish.

A second half that saw momentum swing back and forth over the crowd like a pendulum and the teams kept everyone in Pittsburgh on their toes.

The game’s pivotal moment came with less than 4:00 to play, when running back Israel Abanikanda took a 24-yard flyout home to make the game 31-31.

On ensuing possession, with 3:15 to play, new West Virginia transfer QB JT Daniels threw a perfect pass to receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton.

The ball bounced out of his hands and into the arms of MJ Devonshire, who dodged half of the West Virginia offense to return the interception for a 56-yard touchdown.

Daniels again led West Virginia across the field in his best efforts, in addition to a stellar performance from true freshman running back CJ Donaldson — who racked up 125 rushing yards and a touchdown on 7 carries in his college football debut.

A last gasp to keep the Mountaineers’ hopes alive was declared incomplete and the Panthers won their first Brawl since 2008.

Thanks to the efforts of MJ Devonshire (12) and Rodney Hammond Jr (6), Pitt won the match on Thursday

Thanks to the efforts of MJ Devonshire (12) and Rodney Hammond Jr (6), Pitt won Thursday’s match

A sold-out crowd of more than 70,000 broke the record for most attended sporting event in Pittsburgh

A sold-out crowd of more than 70,000 broke the record for most attended sporting event in Pittsburgh

Fans cheer on their Panthers in Pittsburgh

Fans in Pittsburgh cheer on the Panthers

Pittsburgh Panthers fans went home happy to win their first Backyard Brawl since 2008

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