The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Pamela Smith, managing editor.
Column | In the blink of an eye, in the click of a shutter
By Pamela Smith, Managing Editor • April 20, 2024
Fresh Perspective | Final Farewell
By Julia Smeltzer, Digital Manager • April 19, 2024

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Pamela Smith, managing editor.
Column | In the blink of an eye, in the click of a shutter
By Pamela Smith, Managing Editor • April 20, 2024
Fresh Perspective | Final Farewell
By Julia Smeltzer, Digital Manager • April 19, 2024

‘Pitt is it’: Fans of Panthers, Mountaineers give their final takes just hours before kickoff of the Backyard Brawl

Pitt+and+WVU+fans+tailgate+outside+of+Mountaineer+Field+ahead+of+the+Backyard+Brawl+on+Saturday.+
Ethan Shulman | Visual Editor
Pitt and WVU fans tailgate outside of Mountaineer Field ahead of the Backyard Brawl on Saturday.

Hostility and beer lingered in the Morgantown air ahead of the 106th Backyard Brawl. The Panthers got off their buses with their helmets on to protect them from projectiles thrown at them by Mountaineer fans. WVU fans of all ages shouted the three-word phrase that begins with “eat” and ends with “Pitt.” 

This is nothing new for first-year Pitt students Ed Deignan and Niko Pitinii, who made the trip down from Oakland. 

“My family has been Pitt fans for as long as I can remember,” Deignan said. “It’s the Backyard Brawl. You’ve got to be here.”

When asked why they made the trip down, Pitinii answered very clearly.

“To beat the Mountaineers,” Pitinii said.

Deignan and Pitinii are roommates at Pitt, and they know the stakes of the contest and what it means for both fan bases. The two first-year students are not the only Pitt fans to make the trip to Mountaineer Field. Self-proclaimed Pitt superfan Mike Costa made the trip as well.

“I’ve been a Pitt fan forever,” Costa said. “Pitt is it.”

Costa, a Morgantown native, lives in enemy territory. Most Morgantown natives, like Wendy Alke, naturally root for the Mountaineers. Alke’s ties to Morgantown run deep. So deep that she expressed her feelings for the Panthers with her earrings that read off that same three-word phrase.

“I was born in Morgantown,” Alke said. “I got my undergrad, my masters and law degree at WVU.”

Alke, Deignan and Pitinii all tailgated with each other despite their affiliations to the different schools. The hostility between the two fan bases exists only on the field, and fans see the rivalry as a love-hate relationship. 

“It’s all a rivalry but it’s respectful and we have fun together,” Alke said. “We love Pittsburgh.”

For the first-year students, the hostile crowd gave them an earful, but it’s all in good nature.

“It’s just friendly competition,” Pitinii said. “People say things that they want to get under your skin, but it’s all in good spirits, everyone has been very nice.”

About the Contributor
Jermaine Sykes, Assistant Sports Editor
Jermaine Sykes is the Assistant Sports Editor for The Pitt News. He is a part of the College of Business and Administration class of 2024 and is double majoring in Marketing and Human Resources Management. He is also pursuing a Sports Management certificate and an Economics minor. He has written over 90 articles as a member of the sports staff.