for this game

McCoy carries Pittsburgh past West Virginia

Nov 28, 2008 - 10:43 PM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- For the second straight year, Pittsburgh running back LeSean McCoy got the best of West Virginia.

The sophomore scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 52 seconds remaining as the Panthers rallied for a 19-15 victory over the 25th-ranked Mountaineers in the 101st edition of the "Backyard Brawl" on Friday.

The touchdown capped a stellar afternoon for McCoy, who rushed for a career-high 183 yards on 33 carries.

"We still have a lot to accomplish here," McCoy said. "I want to help get Pitt back to the powerhouse Pitt used to be. Coach (Dave) Wannstedt is getting great recruits."

Pittsburgh's win enabled Cincinnati to clinch its first Big East Conference title and the automatic BCS berth. The Bearcats can win the crown outright with a win over Syracuse on Saturday.

While there was considerably less at stake this time, West Virginia was trying to avenge a stunning 13-9 loss to Pittsburgh last season when the Mountaineers were ranked second and needed only a win to play for the national championship.

But when Friday's contest was on the line, they couldn't stop McCoy, who rushed for 83 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone.

"LeSean McCoy came through today and had his career high of 183 yards rushing," Wannstedt said. "I think that was obviously the difference in the game today when we were struggling throwing the ball. Billy (Stull) was struggling a little bit. Our only chance to win was to play defense and run the ball."

McCoy's 5-yard TD run pulled the Panthers (8-3, 4-2) within 15-13 with 8:07 remaining.

Pittsburgh failed on the two-point conversion, but McCoy carried nine times for 57 yards on the winning drive. He got the ball all but once on the 10-play, 59-yard march.

In last year's win over West Virginia, McCoy rushed for 148 yards on 38 carries.

"LeSean McCoy is a great back," West Virginia coach Bill Stewart said. "He runs so hard and I was really impressed with the balance he showed."

Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania native announced he would be returning to Pittsburgh next year for his junior season, which likely was not greeted with cheers in Morgantown.

Still, the Mountaineers (7-4, 4-2) were in position for a win Friday despite being badly outplayed in the first half.

Pittsburgh outgained West Virginia, 230-100, in the opening 30 minutes, but only led 7-3 because of two turnovers and Conor Lee's missed field goal.

The Panthers missed a chance to extend the lead when Stull threw an interception from West Virginia's 2-yard line late in the first half.

"It's a team game," said Stull, who was just 12-of-23 for 156 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. "The other 10 guys came up for me when I played poorly.

"They just told me not to worry about things and that we'll get them next series. We ran the ball every play the last series and when it came down to it, our guys up front on the offense and our defense won us the game."

West Virginia quarterback Pat White sparked some life into his sluggish team with a spectacular 54-yard TD run in the third quarter.

White appeared to be trapped behind the line but reversed field and used his speed to outrace Pittsburgh defenders down the right sidelines. The touchdown gave the Mountaineers a 12-7 lead with 6:05 remaining in the third.

Pat McAfee kicked a 40-yard field goal - his third of the game - with just under 12 minutes left in the contest to make it 15-7.

However, White threw two critical interceptions in the second half, the second setting up McCoy's first touchdown.

That was the Panthers' first score since Stull tossed a 30-yard TD pass to Derek Kinder on the game-opening possession.

White completed 15-of-28 passes for 143 yards and ran for 93 yards the week after he became the NCAA's all-time leader in rushing yards by a quarterback.

"I have a very emotionally hurt locker room right now, and I think that's a reflection of how hard we competed," Stewart added. "A game like that is what college football is all about."