Hillgrove and Bostick set the tone for the Backyard Brawl

PITTSBURGH — The Backyard Brawl will be played for the 105th time on Thursday at Acrisure Stadium between the Pitt Panthers and West Virginia Mountaineers. Channel 11′s Alby Oxenreiter recently sat down for a conversation about the brawl with Pitt Broadcaster Bill Hillgrove, and former Pitt Quarterback, and Hillgrove’s broadcast partner, Pat Bostick.

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It’s been 11 years since the brawl was last played. Hillgrove said, “The kids want to play this game, the alumni certainly do. It should be played every year.”

Hillgrove called the play-by-play for 38 brawls. His favorite memory was the 13-9 win that Pat Bostick was the quarterback for.

“It’s a rivalry sewn in the fabric of Western Pennsylvania,” said Bostick. “It’s been played over 100 times, the first time in 11 years. You’ve got 364 days to brag about beating them.”

Bostick got those bragging rights in the 13-9 win, a game where he took a shot that knocked his helmet off on a quarterback sneak that gave Pitt its first lead.

Bostick said, “It’s a fight. Dave (Wannstedt) told us to buckle our chinstraps. We wore our helmets on the sidelines. The fans don’t like each other, players don’t like each other, coaches don’t like each other. You lay it on the line. You make history that night.”

As far as what it will be like at sold-out Acrisure Stadium on Thursday, Bostick said, “Kenny Chesney on steroids. Those who make it into the stadium will be fortunate to have done that.”

Hillgrove summed up the brawl, saying, “The backyard brawl is like brothers in a fist fight. Dad doesn’t want to separate them. So intense, and that’s the way it should be. That’s why kids play the game, because of the intensity of it. I want to prove that I’m better than you. Nothing better, nothing.”