Top 5 biggest crowds in Pittsburgh sports history

Traffic jams come well before rush hour, the many parking spaces on the North Shore have sprung up, and record crowds at Acrisure Stadium make the backyard brawl update special.

More so for the victorious Pitt than for West Virginia, considering the Mountaineers lead by seven in the fourth quarter on Thursday night.

It was the largest sporting event audience ever in Pittsburgh.

Here are the five most attended games in the city’s history:

1. Pitt 38, West Virginia 31 – 70,622, Acrisure Stadium, Sept. 1, 2022

In one of the most dramatic endings in Backyard Brawl history, Pete hit two touchdowns in the final 3:41, separated by just 43 seconds of game clock time. There were six lead changes before Pete blocked WVU’s victory at No. 22 for the Panthers. Reece Smith appeared to catch the ball on No. 1 with 22 seconds left, but the penalty was overturned on review.

West Virginia ran for 190 yards, blocked a punt, recorded 5 sacks by Pitt quarterback Kayton Slovis, but returned a 56-yard interception at cornerback MJ Devon to break 31-31 Lost the game after a draw.

The game was the first between the Panthers and Climbers since 2011.

2. Pitt 42, Penn State 39 – 69,983, Heinz Field, September 10, 2016

The match, the first in 16 years between the old rivals, appeared to set the tone for Pitt’s plans, which had suffered so many disappointments before the arrival of coach Pat Narduzzi in 2015.

“Coach Narduzzi is taking this team in a direction it hasn’t seen in a long time,” said Seton LaSalle graduate and tight end Scoff Orndoff. “We always look back at the game and say that’s how you want to feel after every game, after every season.”

Running back James Conner, who rushed for 22 times for 117 yards, spoke to reporters after the game with six offensive linebackers, linebacker George Aston and running back Kadri Olsen by his side.

Wide receiver Quadree Henderson had four 58-yard sweeps on offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s beloved Jets.

Ryan Lewis made an end zone interception with 75 seconds left to seal Pitt’s victory.

3. Pitt 24, Fordham 13 — 68,918, Pitt Stadium, October 29, 1938

On a warm, sunny Saturday, an initial estimate of 75,000 people climbed Heart Mountain to watch the then No. 1 Pitts play Fordham at Pitt Stadium. Pitt officials eventually revised attendance, but it remained the largest at a Pittsburgh sporting event until the 2016 Penn State/Pitt game.

Pitt and Fordham played consecutive scoreless games at the New York Polo Field the first three seasons, and Pitt didn’t record his first touchdown of the season until the fourth quarter. All-American running back Marshall Goldberg scored twice.

The win extended Pitt’s unbeaten streak to 22 games, but ended the following week with a 20-10 loss to Carnegie Tech.

The 1938 season was coach Jock Sutherland’s last. According to author Sam Sciullo Jr.’s book “Pitt Stadium Memories 1925-1999,” he met with Premier John Bowman at the end of the season about the direction of the football program Dispute, shocking resignation.

Sutherland remains the coach with the highest winning percentage in Pitt’s history (111-20-12).

4. Patriots 27, Steelers 24 – 68,574, Heinz Field, Dec. 17, 2017

The game will forever be haunted by the question: “Is he or is he not?”

Steelers tight end Jesse James of South Allegheny High caught Ben Roethlisberger’s pass with 34 seconds left on the No. 1 ball. When his knee hit the ground, James threw the ball over the goal line, but it went off the line after hitting it. ground.

Officials signaled a touchdown, but replay officials took several minutes to review and rescind the call. They ruled that “catching the ball” did not “survive” James hitting the ground. incomplete.

Roethlisberger’s last pass was intercepted and the Steelers were forced to accept their first loss in nine games, a fifth straight loss to the Patriots.

“I thought we won the game,” said rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, whose 69-yard catch created last-second drama.

5. Penn State 51, Pitt 6 – 68,400, Heinz Field, September 8, 2018

The game, played in continuous rain, was Pitt’s biggest loss to Penn State in 50 years.

In the first half, Pitt freshman Kirk Cristolo saved a smash as the ball carrier on an extra-point attempt, had trouble shooting a field goal, and missed a shot with 26 seconds left. Punt dunk on Penn State for a touchdown in the first half.

Then, the Nittany Lions had five touchdowns after halftime, while Woodland Hills graduate Miles Sanders ran for 118 yards on 16 carries.

“We obviously didn’t have them ready in any capacity,” Narduzzi said.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Jerry via email [email protected] or via Twitter .

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