Winning the game, of course, is the ultimate goal, and on that front West Virginia didn’t have a successful trip to Pittsburgh for its 2022 football opener, as it fell 38-31 to Pitt in the Backyard Brawl. A number of reasons for that outcome have been hashed and parsed, but there were also some good parts and phases of play that the Mountaineers can build upon as it turns its attention to Kansas and Saturday’s home opener.

Pass rush: WVU generated only 27 sacks last season — one of the few weaker links in its defense. The Mountaineers answered those questions emphatically in the opener, with defensive linemen Dante Stills (1.5) and Sean Martin (1.0) getting to Pitt QB Kedon Slovis. Bandit Jared Bartlett showed his speed and agility in working through the pocket for 1.5 sacks, and Davis Mallinger, blitzing from the spear position, got a backside rundown for another takedown behind the line.

West Virginia freshman running back CJ Donaldson described the process of moving to running back and his two big runs, along with a blocked punt, that were keys in the Pitt game

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