PITTSBURGH, Pa.— After Pittsburgh was victorious on the football field back in September, West Virginia took revenge on the mat in the wrestling edition of the Backyard Brawl on Sunday afternoon.
The Mountaineers used late efforts in multiple bouts to outlast the No. 21 ranked Panthers 24-11 inside the Fitzgerald Field House, snapping a two-match losing streak to the Panthers and giving West Virginia its first win over Pittsburgh under fifth-year head coach Tim Flynn.
West Virginia also earned its first victory over a ranked opponent in two years, with the last coming over then No. 17 Northern Colorado in January 2021.
Mountaineers redshirt freshman Jordan Titus’ match with No. 1 ranked Cole Matthews at 141 pounds proved to be the highlight of the meet, as Titus used a duck-and-under takedown with 17 seconds remaining in the third period to break a 1-all tie and claim a 3-1 victory over the returning All-American. Matthews entered the matchup undefeated with 10 consecutive victories to start the season.
Titus’ triumph sparked a run of four straight wins for the Mountaineers, helping West Virginia build an 18-4 lead through six matches.
Sam Hillegas followed Titus with a 2-0 sudden death victory over Pittsburgh’s Tyler Badgett at 149 pounds. Hillegas was awarded two points upon gaining offensive position on Badgett after the two went down to the mat. West Virginia’s Alex Hornfeck then defeated Dan Mancini with a 3-1 decision at 157 following a takedown in the third period.
West Virginia’s Peyton Hall closed the run with a pinfall victory over Holden Heller at 165. Hall originally grabbed a 2-0 lead with a first period takedown, but the points were waved off by the referee upon video review. Hall was then able to counter Heller and earn a pin at 4:43 in the second period.
Luca Augustine put Pittsburgh back on the board after defeating Brody Conley 3-2 at 174 before Anthony Carman’s 7-2 decision over Reece Heller at 184 sealed the meet victory for the Mountaineers. Carman has now secured a West Virginia win in back-to-back meets after accomplishing the same feat Friday against Ohio.
The Panthers and Mountaineers split the final two matches, with Pittsburgh’s No. 2 ranked Nino Bonaccorsi taking an 18-4 major decision over Brian Finnerty at 197 and West Virginia heavyweight Michael Wolfgram claiming a 9-4 win over Jake Slinger.
The two teams each also grabbed a win to begin the meet. No. 7 ranked Killian Cardinale defeated Colton Camacho 5-3 at 125 pounds, giving West Virginia an early 3-0 lead.
No. 7 Micky Phillippi answered for Pittsburgh, using a takedown as time expired and an additional point for riding time to defeat Davin Rhoads 10-2 at 133. This gave the Panthers their lone advantage of the match at 4-3 before the Mountaineers’ run.
Pittsburgh now sits at 5-2 after its four-match win streak comes to an end. The Panthers will host Buffalo on Friday, then compete in three straight ACC duals against Virginia, Virginia Tech and North Carolina.
West Virginia (6-1) has now won three consecutive matches, matching its second-longest string under Flynn. The Mountaineers’ road trip will continue on Friday at Tennessee-Chattanooga before returning to Big 12 competition at Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.