WVU's offense is No. 51 and converts 42.8 percent of the time despite 78 of the 138 third downs needing seven yards or more. The Mountaineers are No. 39 in third down defense and let offenses convert 36.5 percent of the time.
Mountaineers Coach Dana Holgorsen said the matchups between the offensive and defensive lines are about even and said the team that plays better up front will win the game.
"That's definitely what this game is going to come down to," Barclay said. "We both run the spread, so whoever gets the most push and penetration through the line is going to have the most success.
"Their front is good and they have some athletic guys up there and they've got a decent amount of sacks this year. We have to execute our offense and keep their guys away from our guys."
As shaky as WVU's play has been up front this season, the Panthers are actually the worst of all 120 FBS teams at protecting the quarterback and allow 4.3 sacks per game. Pitt has used seven different starting lineups on the offensive line. One player was lost for the season and another, right guard Lucas Nix, has missed the past five games.
If he starts, it could be the eighth different lineup.
Yet Pitt averages 158 yards per game rushing and had the nation's third leading rusher in Ray Graham before he was lost for the season to a knee injury three games ago. Their quarterback, Tino Suneri, has actually run for 429 yards, but netted just 146 because of the sacks
"They're really hard to figure out watching on film, but you can tell they've moved a couple of guys around on the front line and I would assume that would be why," West Virginia defensive tackle Julian Miller said. "You see Sunseri making plays here and there and it's really hard to tell how they're giving up sacks, especially when you see they've got guys at running back hitting great holes."
The Mountaineers have been perplexing, too. Geno Smith was sacked five times by the Bearcats and four times by Syracuse, but never against LSU despite 65 passes. Running back Dustin Garrison had 291 yards against Bowling Green, but the team has averaged a little more than 100 yards a game since then and is No. 96 nationally at 117.3 yards per game.
The defense has 16 sacks and has been a little more consistent lately. The Mountaineers had three sacks in the first five games and then five in the sixth. They had none against Syracuse and then eight in the past three.
"Bruce Irvin has played a lot better with a lot more energy and we've seen him get after the quarterback the last few games," Holgorsen said of his defensive end who has three of his 5 1/2 sacks this season in the past two games.
"Julian Miller has played well. He's been solid even though he's been injured all season and playing through it, but it means a lot to him. And we've got guys that are playing probably a little better than they were six weeks ago."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.