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.