Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – West Virginia had the Backyard Brawl won. Up 31-24 late in the 4th quarter, the Mountaineers faced a 4th down and inches. Not even inches. An inch.
And instead of allowing JT Daniels to fall forward for an almost-guaranteed 1st down, Brown took a delay of game and punted the ball.
This, of course, led to the same 4th quarter collapse that we’ve seen over and over again during Brown’s tenure at West Virginia.
Neal Brown plays to not lose games. Not to win. And in a huge game like this one, that almost never works out. Neal Brown’s passive, conservative decisions have lost many games for West Virginia but none as big as this one.
In what could have been a program-defining win for the Mountaineers, Neal Brown orchestrated one of the most heartbreaking collapses in recent program history.
This one hurts.
While Neal Brown supporters will almost certainly identify Bryce Ford-Wheaton’s dropped pass as the play that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, they team never had to be in that position in the first place.
If Neal Brown played to win, West Virginia would be celebrating a massive victory of their most hated rivals. Instead, this is a game that will be remembered as one of the most devastating losses in program history.