The Cincinnati Bearcats are 10-0 for the first time in school history and Tony Pike threw 2 of the TDs on 2 completions. Cincinnati wins 24-21
How many times has it happened? Three, four times in the past a Big East team ranked in the Top 5 would fall in the late stages of the season to lose it's chance to play in a National Championship game.
The Bearcats were not about to be that team.
Coach Brian Kelly had his team at 9-0 and wanted to give Cincinnati it's first 10-0 season in school history.
Friday night's game which was featured Nationally on ESPN2 featured a struggling West Virginia offense playing far from Morgantown on the banks of the Ohio at Nippert Stadium.
Brian Kelly's new offensive scheme might raise eyebrows around the league, but it seemed to work out for him. During the first half, in redzone situations, Brian Kelly elected to put Tony Pike, the injured QB who originally was considered a Hiesman Candidate in the first half of the season, in to play behind center. Pike ended up tossing a TD from the 15 yard line on one pass attempt during the first half. He also played later in the game and threw two incompletions before connecting on a 6 yard pass to the Bearcats WR DJ Woods. In all Pike was 2 of 4 for 16 yards and two touchdowns.
Zach Collaros was the starter most of the game seemed to be used during the beginning of drives to get the offense down the field. Collaros finished the game 17 of 24 with 208 yards and one interception.
West Virginia's struggling offense had much to do with Jarrett Brown's prior concussion he received when playing against Marshall in October. It was obvious he was not playing as normal in the weeks following up to this game, missing targets, not seeing the entire field and tossing up interceptions. Coming into this game we weren't sure what to expect.
Jarrett Brown went 17 of 25 with one touchdown and threw a decent 188 yards.
A questionable call was made during the first half of the game where it seemed Bearcat RB Isiah Pead fumbled the ball just before crossing the goal line. The ball was then recovered by West Virginia at the 3. The call on the field was WVU ball at the 3 yard line. The play was reviewed, and to the surprise of many fans at the stadium, reversed. This brought the score to 14-14 with 5:01 left in the first half.
Cincinnati would score in the 3rd quarter on a D.J. Woods reception on a 6 Yd pass from Tony Pike. Score 21-14 West Virginia would get two chances in the 4th quarter. The first drive they elected to go for the touchdown on a 4th & 12 with five minutes left, figuring they might not get another chance. As Jarrett Brown was slowly pulled to the ground he threw an incompletion into the end-zone to give the ball back to Cincinnati on downs.
Cincinnati would drive down the field nearly 60 yards before Zach Collaros would be sacked and the Bearcats would be forced into kicking a field goal. They converted and put the score up to 24-14.
West Virginia, with just over two minutes remaining, would drive down the field in six plays and score a touchdown. Score now Bearcats up 24-21 Unfortunately the previous call to go for it on fourth down earlier in the quarter would prove to be their downfall. Cincinnati would recover the onside kick and the game would end 24-21.