The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

November 25, 2010

WVU and Pitt to sport combat uniforms in Brawl

Both Pitt and West Virginia will wear the specially designed Nike Combat uniforms in Friday’s Backyard Brawl at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Nobody is more excited about it than WVU coach Bill Stewart.

“I’m an Old Gold and Blue guy, believe me, but that uniform is us — that’s who we are,” Stewart said. “It’s another notch. We’re going out on the field and representing the people of this great state in a uniform that means a lot to our players. Our players have bought into them and are excited. We feel very honored to be one of the 10 schools that this has been done for, and we want to do everything we can to make sure that we can represent them as best we can for the people of West Virginia.”

Each uniform is designed with the region in mind.

For West Virginia, it’s all about the coal heritage of the state.

“I want to be excited for the right reasons,” Stewart said. “It’s going to be very memorable and something these young men cherish their whole lives. Back in the day, I didn’t have a leather helmet, but it wasn’t far off.

“I don’t want to downplay the excitement, but the meaning behind the uniforms has me all excited. It’s speaks to who we are as West Virginians. If you are a West Virginian, and that uniform does not crank you up, then there’s something wrong.”

The Backyard Brawl kicks off at noon and will be televised nationally on ABC.

———

When Tyler Bitancurt kicked a 43-yard field goal last year to beat Pitt as time expired, nobody was happier than Scooter Berry.

The Backyard Brawl means that much to the New York native.

“It means everything to me. I’m pretty sure you guys know that because I did cry on national TV last year (after WVU’s win). It feels good to play in this rivalry, and I’m looking forward to Friday. I hope everyone else is, too.”

For quarterback Geno Smith, it’s his first Backyard Brawl as a starter.

“It’s an honor to be a part of this great rivalry,” Smith said. “It’s always just been another game to me, but it’s obviously a lot different for the people of this state. It’s a very traditional game, and I’m looking forward to it.

“I’ve had the chance to experience this game and see how great it actually is, so I’m prepared and ready for it.”

———

A win by West Virginia (7-3, 3-2 Big East) over Pitt (6-4, 4-1) would put West Virginia back into the Big East race. A loss and the Mountaineers are out of contention for the title.

“It’s good,” slot receiver Tavon Austin said. “We still have a chance to go in there and be No. 1 in the Big East. We’re just going to go in there and play a good game, and hopefully we can come out as winners.”

That will mean more consistency from an offense that has been anything but recently.

“If we take care of the ball and don’t have any turnovers, we should go out there and win the game,” Austin said. “We have the talent to win games. The last couple of games we’ve been clicking and things seem all right, so right now we just need to bring it all together.”

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