West Virginia Vs. Cincinnati: Mountaineers Block Game Tying Field Goal, Hold On For 24-21 Win

West Virginia hopes to get back into the hunt for the Big East crown against the Cincinnati Bearcats.

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West Virginia Vs. Cincinnati: Bearcats Score To Cut WVU Lead To 17-14

After a couple of fruitless drives, things got interesting when the the Mountaineers had a field goal blocked for the second straight week in a row.  The play briefly echoed the infamous Leon Lett field goal muff from my childhood when a Bearcat defender touched the ball near the end zone and a scrum ensued, though Cincy recovered the football.

The play was a huge turning point in the game when, on the very next play, Munchie Legaux broke a Mountaineer tackle and rumbled 65 yards deep into Mountaineer territory. The backup quarterback would have scored had his legs not gotten tangled up with a teammate's. The Mountaineer D recovered from their mistake, as Tony Miliano missed a 42 yard field goal.

The Mountaineers punted on the possession that followed, and Cincinnati responded with another big play, a wheel route into the flat to running back Isaiah Pead who was left absolutely alone. The total defensive failure on that play would cost the Mountaineers dearly when Legaux ran it in from 7 yards out on the next play, cutting the Mountaineers lead to 17-14. Things are starting to get tense, and the Mountaineers can't continue to make mistakes, lose positive yardage and commit penalties, three themes of this game so far.

Those problems continues to plague the 'Eers when they threw into the backfield on third and two, and appeared to simply not pick up the first down, but in slow motion the replay revealed the Dustin Garrison had fumbled the football before he was down. Another mistake by WVU, and tons and tons of new life for Cincinnati.  Mountaineer Nation is getting tense right now.

Entering the fourth quarter, West Virginia needs to regain momentum, and quickly, or else the season may be almost over.

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West Virginia Vs. Cincinnati: Mountaineers Score 10 Unanswered Points In The Second Quarter, Lead 17-7 At Halftime

The Mountaineers opened the quarter putting together a 72 yard drive on the back of Tavon Austin, who hauled in four passes including a 39 yard catch and run where he sliced through the Cincinnati defense and a nimble one handed grab along the sidelines.  The WVU offense stalled out in the redzone and Tyler Bitancurt converted a 28 yard field goal and the Mountaineers took a 10-7 lead, their first of the game.

On the ensuing Bearcat possession, the much-maligned Mountaineer defense made a huge play that could end up being one of the biggest of the season. Bruce Irvin wrapped up Cincy QB Zach Collaros with his back to the goal line, and as Irvin dragged his man to the ground the ball slipped free. Julian Miller fell on the football in the end-zone for a Mountaineer touchdown, giving the 'Eers a 17-10 lead. It was a fantastic example of team effort and, most importantly, was the result of an effective pass rush something which has eluded the Mountaineers this season. Collaros was forced to leave the game with a knee injury as a result of Irvin's tackle.

Cincinnati backup quarterback Munchie Legaux, he of the awesome-est name in sports, entered the football game and immediately handed the football back to the Mountaineers, throwing a third down interception to Mountaineer safety Keith Tandy. The Mountaineers drive resulted in punt. 

Heading into halftime the Mountaineers have all the momentum, and could put this one away early if they come out in the third quarter with a good effort. Cincy is clearly shaken on offense, and the Mountaineer offense continues to move the football.

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West Virginia Vs. Cincinnati: 'Eers, 'Cats Tied 7-7 After First Quarter

The game started in disastrous fashion for the Mountaineers, but not in a manner that WVU fans haven't had time to get used to so far this season. The Mountaineers went three and out on their first possession, Geno Smith running for his life in the backfield on two of the 'Eers first three plays. After punting the ball to the Bearcats, the Mountaineer defense wasted no time and got steamrolled by Isaiah Pead on Cincinnati's third play from scrimmage. Pead's 40-yard touchdown run was a picture of physical dominance as he and his Bearcat teammates knocked every Mountaineer defender out of their way.

West Virginia righted the ship quickly on the next possession when, after a couple of short passes to start the drive, Geno Smith found Stedman Bailey deep for a 60-yard touchdown.  It initially appeared like Smith had overthrown Bailey, but the young reciever turned it on at the last second, beating his man and coasting into the endzone.

The good vibes were short-lived for the Mountaineers, however, as Pead reprised his previous run, this time being forced out of bounds at the last moment.  The Mountaineer defense stiffened after a couple of tipped passes and held Cincinnati on a 4th and goal from the 2 yard line, stonewalling quarterback Zach Collaros as he rushed towards the end zone.  It was a bizarre sequence that included an offsides penalty on West Virginia during a field goal to set up Cincy's fourth-down try.

After a topsy turvy opening sequence, both teams settled down over the second half of the quarter and the defenses took hold. Each team traded punts and finished the quarter tied 7-7.

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