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Old 11-23-2005, 08:13 AM
TomWilkinson TomWilkinson is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 118
Default Backyard Brawl Critical to West Virginia

With a win Thursday night, No. 12 West Virginia can clinch at least a tie for the Big East Conference title. The Thanksgiving night game will be the 98th meeting between West Virginia who is 8-1 and 5-0 in the Big East and Pittsburgh who is 5-5 and 4-2 in conference play.

"It's a rivalry game, and all rivalry games are going to be extremely intense, very physical and with a lot of emotion," said West Virginia Head Coach Rich Rodriguez. "And our guys know that."Our players are going to know about Pitt, and hear about Pitt 365 days a year, so they've handled it pretty well," Rodriguez said. "I just want to go out and play well because I know it's going to be a tough game."

"This is kind of unique because I've actually played in the games, played down (in Morgantown) and been part of some of the great stories that the fans and ex-players talk about," said Pittsburgh Head Coach Dave Wannstedt. "You can stand up there and talk to the team and you're not telling them something you've read in a book," he said. "You've actually been there and done it."

Of the last 18 matchups, 11 visiting teams have won. "Any time you go on the road and play against a wild crowd, an enthusiastic crowd which we're going to have you have to make sure you do whatever you can to take them out of the game," Wannstedt said.

If the Mountaineers win, South Florida (6-3, 4-1) could still force a conference tie by beating Connecticut on Saturday and West Virginia on Dec. 2.
Tom Wilkinson
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