After Scoring a combined 35 points their previous two games the West Virginia Mountaineers (6-3, 2-2 Big East) were able to score 37 points in today’s much needed win(37-10) over the Cincinnati Bearcats (3-6, 1-3 Big East). Showing signs of the offense Mountaineer fans loved during the first 3 weeks of this season, Gino Smith and company were able to score an amazing 28 points in the first half (the defense added a safety to make the total first half output 30). Speaking of Smith, he once again had a phenomenal day under center. Smith completed 15 out of 25 pass attempts, threw for 174 yards with 4 touchdowns compared to 1 interception.
As for Smith’s counterpart, Zach Collaros, who entered the day as statistically the best quarterback in the Big East, didn’t have as good a day as Smith. Collaros completed 25 out of 45 pass attempts, threw for 221 yards with 2 interceptions and no touchdowns. Most fans in Cincinnati will probably put a good portion of the blame for this loss on Collaros but, truth is the Bearcat defense was no where to be found in the first half. The front four only applied a little pressure and the secondary didn’t stay with receivers long enough to make a play that would benefit the Bearcats.
While we’re on the subject of defense, let me just say that in my 22 years of watching WVU football, this has to be the best overall defense I’ve seen in Morgantown. If I may quote a line from “Remember the Titans”, this D is “agile, hostile, and mobile!” The best dual threat quarterback in the Big East was held to an average of 4 yards per completion and didn’t have 1 single yard rushing (-26 with a long of 6 yards on the day). Now, tell me that’s not impressive and I’ll tell you to rewind the DVR and then come holla back.
Today’s win over Cincinatti gives the WVU offense a much needed boost in confidence and Head Coach Bill Stewart at least a little more time on the sidelines. I still hold to my belief that if this Mountaineer team loses one more game that they’re not supposed to lose (pretty much any Big East game or Bowl game against a non-top 10 team) Stewart will add to the 9.7 percent of the American public that is unemployed. But, for now, Stewart and his crew are not so much worried about unemployment as they are the Louisville Cardinals and their new Head Coach, Charlie Strong. Louisville (5-5, 2-3 Big East) just lost in overtime to South Florida 24-21 and will be ready to get back on the right track next week at Papa John’s stadium.
Believe it or not, Louisville with three conference losses has just as good a chance to win the Big East as West Virginia with just two conference losses. It seems like every time I turn on my TV or computer, the team that was leading the Big East loses to someone else in the conference (Pitt losing to UConn on Thursday is a prime example). Thus, as cliche as this may sound, the WVU @ Louisville game (as well as every other game in the Big East) will be a very important game in regards to the outcome of the Big East.
About the Author
Written by Jason Lee
Born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia, I've been a sports fan probably since I was about 9 years old! A 2002 graduate of Mount Union College (Alliance, OH), I've had the opportunity to cover some great high school football on the radio in both Ohio (working with WHBC in Canton) and in West Virginia (I currently work with Bristol Broadcasting in Charleston). I also keep an on-line journal/blogs on my own website.