MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Going from an FCS opponent straight into a rivalry game means WVU football will likely turn the page faster than it typically would after a win.
The team’s in-house player awards from Week 2 will be announced at some point in the next day, but for now, here are the highlights from WVU head coach Neal Brown’s weekly press conference ahead of the Backyard Brawl:
Brown is settled into the rivalry
Last year’s Backyard Brawl loss was certainly a shock to the system for Brown in the first year of the rivalry’s resurgence. Now that he knows the in-and-outs of the meaning of this game, he’s excited to get another chance at Pitt.
“This is heated,” he said. “And we understand that, and our players are looking forward to getting back into that.”
Last year, WVU and Pitt fans set the record for the biggest sports crowd in Acrisure Stadium history with 70,622 fans.
“I hope it’s electric,” Brown said. “I know this is one that’s been circled for a long time. It’s been sold out for a long time. A lot of people [are] coming into town for this, and so it’s a great opportunity.”
Pitt quarterback Phill Jurkovec has been around college football for quite a bit of time.
Entering year six of his collegiate career, there have plenty of been ups and downs for Jurkovec, with previous stops at Notre Dame and Boston College.
Brown says that the sixth-year QB has a good reputation “in NFL circles,” and he sees why.
“You can tell he’s cerebral,” Brown said. “You can tell up there, he’s checking plays for those guys. The scary thing for me is when he breaks contain and gets out on the perimeter. He has the arm talent. He has the ability to run, and he’s a lot bigger than most DBs, and he’s got the arm talent when he gets out of the pocket, whether it’s left or right, to throw the ball down the field.”
Jurkovec displayed one of the poorest performances of his career last weekend in Pitt’s 27-21 loss to Cincinnati. Though he threw for three scores, he completed just 31.24% (10-for-32) of his passes for 179 yards.
“I’m sure they were disappointed they didn’t connect as many against Cincinnati,” Brown said.
Greene’s composure and maturity
Wide receiver drops are becoming a thing for the WVU offense through two weeks of football. On Saturday, receivers Cortez Braham, Preston Fox and Jeremiah Aaron all recorded drops in crucial situations.
Greene could have made a scene, but he didn’t.
“He handled it better than I did, first of all,” Brown said. “He handled that as good or better than any quarterback I’ve ever had…It didn’t faze him.”
He threw for over 200 yards with four touchdowns and a 90.5 rating from PFF, which was good for the ninth-best grade out of all Power-5 quarterbacks in Week 2.