I’m not sure what to make of this game. In my preview of the matchup, all signs pointed to a West Virginia victory. The Mountaineers boast playmakers at nearly every significant position and UC’s secondary leaves a lot to be desired. The Bearcats defense as whole gave up only 10 points in the first half but allowed Geno Smith to pass for 224 yards with Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin getting most of the yardage. The rush defense was it’s usual ‘brick wall’ self, holding West Virginia to negative yardage on the ground and sacking Smith twice. The biggest play of the game occurred halfway through the 2nd quarter. Zach took the ball out of the shotgun and had his daily brain fart play by running straight back when WVU blitzed. On a 3rd and long. Near the Cincinnati redzone. The UC quarterback was sacked and fumbled the ball in the endzone for a Mountaineer defensive touchdown. Another idiotic play that made me nearly punch a hole in my computer screen, Collaros went down on the play with an injured right leg. He never returned.
In came Munchie Legaux the prized quarterback of Cincinnati’s All-Name team. He was understandably shaky early but settled down in the 2nd half moving the Bearcats effectively down the field. His near-game-winning drive was beautiful as he stood tall in the pocket and hit receivers deep down the field. That’s the beauty of having a tall quarterback. But it was all for naught as Tony Miliano’s potential game tying field goal was blocked as time expired. It’s time for coaches, players, and fans to put this game behind us and look forward to next week. It’s unclear if Zach Collaros, who was limited to crutches in the 2nd half, will be able to play next week against Rutgers. The good news is Legaux seemed much more comfortable in the starting role as the game progressed and is a much more natural fit for this offense despite his inexperience. Losing Zach isn’t good for this team but it won’t be a killer. The defense played great today against arguably the best offense in the Big East sacking Geno Smith five times and only allowing 17 offensive points. They will not face a tougher offense the rest of the season.
So, while Cincinnati dropped a tough game today they are still in the driver’s seat in the Big East race. Even though West Virginia won the Bearcats have a 1 game lead in the conference and can go BCS bowling if they sweep the remaining games on their schedule. Pead is still playing like a man on fire, Derek Wolfe, J.K. Schaffer, and this defense continues to be relentless, and Legaux proved to be serviceable as a starting quarterback. Keep your heads up, Bearcats fans! UC is still very much in control of its destiny.