The Backyard Brawl is one of the oldest, most daunting rivalries in all of college football. The West Virginia Mountaineers and the University of Pittsburgh Panthers have battled it out 104 times since the late 1800’s.
Unfortunately, the prized rivalry came to an end in 2011 with West Virginia’s move to the Big 12 and Pitt’s move to the ACC (both of which formally in the Big East Conference).
This September, West Virginia AD Shane Lyons announced that the Backyard Brawl will officially resume from 2022-2025.
The only downfall? That’s seven years away.
Former West Virginia tight end Tyler Urban chimed in on the continuance of a rivalry that was in its prime when he wore the old gold and blue.
“A couple of my friends that I played with laughed about the fact we would be in our early 30’s by the time the game took place but we will be able to view the game from a completely different perspective,” said Urban. “The guys that played in the last Backyard Brawl in 2011 will now be 11 years removed from that game.”
Urban played the tight end position from 2008 to 2011. In that time, West Virginia went 3-1 in the Backyard Brawl, only losing to Pitt during his freshman season.
“In my 4 years, we went 3-1 against Pitt, losing only my freshmen year at Pitt which I would consider my worst memory,” he said. “My best memories were the atmosphere that the game created and being able to play against many guys I knew from growing up in Pittsburgh. The last second field goal in 2009, blowing them out in Pittsburgh in 2010, and then coming from behind to win on my senior night in 2011 were the best memories.”
Urban played in 26 total games as a Mountaineer where he caught 37 passes for 429 yards and five touchdowns. Through those 26 games, Urban says there was nothing quite like the one Saturday each year when the Brawl came alive.
“The buildup was immediately following whoever we played right before Pitt,” he said. “As a player, we knew what it meant to the state of West Virginia and the fans that supported us. We knew the game meant so much to those players that came before us because many conference championships were decided by the Backyard Brawl. It’s awesome to play in a true rivalry like WVU and Pitt because of the proximity of the university’s from one another.”
The Backyard Brawl will continue in 2022 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The next year, it will return to Morgantown, alternating between the two cities through 2025.
“I was initially excited that the game would return but impatient because of the distance until the game actually takes place,” said Urban. “I immediately saw people posting pictures from previous games and fans from both teams commenting on the upcoming game.”
Urban noted that even though it’s years away, he’ll most likely be at the next Backyard Brawl, this time watching from the stands.
“I would definitely like to get back to watch the game in 2022 and see how the atmosphere is after the players and fans have waited so long to see the game played.”