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The Good, Bad and Ugly of the 106th Backyard Brawl

This was likely the most fun game of the Neal Brown era. A primetime ABC audience got to see us thoroughly own our rivals to the north. This will definitely be the most unbalanced Good, Bad, Ugly that I’ve done thus far.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 16 Pitt at West Virginia Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Good

1. The uniforms - Whoever designed those uniforms deserves a raise. They were amazing, especially the helmets. The only criticism I can come up with is that the blue was a little dark (it almost looked black on TV). I’d be happy if we adopted those helmets as our new standard.

2. The crowd - While I wasn’t at the game to experience it firsthand, that seemed like one of the best crowds Morgantown has seen for a while. The stadium was full, and it was really loud. Kudos to Wren Baker for allowing the playing of “Sweet Caroline” multiple times throughout the game. A colleague of mine was at the game and said there were kids as young as 6 singing our special chorus line (outstanding parenting).

3. Neal Brown’s play calling - I wasn’t sure I would ever write this in the good column, but Neal called a very good game on Saturday. He recognized early, and even more so when Garrett was injured, that riding our offensive line & CJ’s legs was the key to victory. It may not have been a very explosive offensive game plan, but it was exactly what was needed on Saturday. We’ll obviously have to open things up next week against Texas Tech. I don’t see us being able to win too many more games throwing only 11 passes and gaining only 211 total yards.

4. The defense - Another surprising addition to this portion of the list was Jordan Lesley’s game plan on defense. After watching Cincinnati bring disrupt the Pitt offense with pressure last week, Jordan brought multiple extra rushers on almost every play. Not surprisingly, the extra pressure on the QB took some heat off of our much-maligned secondary. Speaking of the secondary, they were very active on Saturday, with multiple PBUs & 3 interceptions.

The Bad

1. Garrett Greene’s injury - As of this writing, the only info we have is what we all saw on TV: Garrett in a walking boot & street clothes on the sidelines. X-rays were reported as negative, but that doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. You can’t see any ligament or tendon damage on an X-ray. I’m guessing he will be sent for an MRI to see the full extent of the damage, if any. I’m interested to see what kind of update Neal has at his press conference today. This is not a knock on Nicco. He was a highly recruited QB coming out of high school. We just don’t have much evidence of how he’ll do as QB1.

2. Jaylen Anderson - I’m not sure if it’s just me, but Jaylen Anderson does not seem to be a very explosive option as CJ’s backup. In the limited amount of time he’s played this year, he seems very hesitant coming through the line. He appears to tiptoe his way through rather than hit the defense with a full head of steam. I’d be curious to see what Jahiem White could offer as RB2.

The Ugly

1. Phil Jurkovec - This may be the worst college QB I’ve ever watched. He had happy feet the entire game, just like last week against Cincinnati. Even on throws where he had time to set up, he was extremely wild. Thanks to the Pitt coaching staff for keeping him on the field instead of trying PSU transfer Christian Veilleux.