Cincinnati comes into WVU game with momentum
Published: Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Updated: Thursday, November 10, 2011 01:11
With only four games remaining, the No. 23 Cincinnati Bearcats are the only undefeated team left in Big East Conference play.
The Bearcats have now won six straight games after defeating Pittsburgh last Saturday.
"Pitt is a very, very well-coached football team," said Cincinnati head coach Butch Jone. "Anytime you can go on the road in this conference and come away with a win is a great thing.
"It was a great college football game – very hard-fought. Both teams played with great effort and energy. I thought we made the plays we needed to."
The Bearcats will host the West Virginia Mountaineers Saturday at noon.
"Obviously a tremendous challenge playing West Virginia," Jones said. "They're very talented and play with a great tempo on offense."
The game will be played at Paul Brown Stadium – home of the Cincinnati Bengals – instead of Cincinnati's on-campus venue at Nippert Stadium. Butch Jones is proud of the way the team has dealt with non-traditional home games.
"We're playing at Paul Brown Stadium. We haven't played a home game at Nippert Stadium since Sept. 22," he said. "You just can't say enough about everyone associated with our football program right now."
The Bearcats have won three consecutive conference games. In all three games, the Bearcats didn't hold a halftime lead and were forced to overcome deficits. Jones feels this has to change.
"We can't continue to do that; we have to get off to faster starts," he said.
Despite West Virginia's recent problems defensively, Jones feels the Mountaineer defense can cause some problems.
"I still see a typical West Virginia defense," Jones said. "They're fast, they're physical, they play with great effort. You're not going to find anyone in the country who has more respect for Jeff Casteel than I do."
Cincinnati is the only remaining team in the Big East that controls its own destiny. If the Bearcats win their final four games, they will represent the Big East Conference in a BCS bowl.
The reason for their success this season may be a vocal group of seniors.
"I can't say enough about our senior class and the leadership they've provided," Jones said. "We're going to be challenged down the stretch, starting off with what I think is one of the premiere teams in our conference in West Virginia."