The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

November 10, 2010

Cincinnati ‘a real challenge’ for WVU

It was billed as one of the potential battles to decide the Big East title back in August.

But a lot has changed in the last three months.

When Cincinnati (3-5, 1-2 Big East) meets West Virginia (5-3, 1-2) at noon Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium, it will be a battle to see who can climb out of the conference cellar.

“Cincinnati is a team like us that had a drop here and maybe a missed assignment there,” coach Bill Stewart said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. “They have lost a couple of games that some may say they shouldn’t have, as some may say that we have. It will be an interesting matchup.”


The Bearcats, under new coach Butch Jones, have been beset with injuries, most notably to quarterback Zach Collaros, who suffered a bruised knee and didn’t play in Cincinnati’s 31-7 loss to Syracuse in Cincinnati Oct. 30.

Both teams were off last week.

Collaros, from Steubenville, Ohio, right across the Ohio River from West Virginia, could play Saturday but Stewart is preparing for anything.

“Zach Collaros, Chazz Anderson and even Brendon Kay all do something different, Stewart said.

“They all have great skills. Collaros is one of those players who just makes plays. Chazz is sharp and has a great arm.

“It is going to be a real challenge. Our defense has not seen an offense like this. They have some skill and have the No. 1 and 2 receivers in the league.

“I don’t know how injured Collaros is, but I do know what kind of competitor he is. They had to hide his helmet from him a few weeks ago (against Syracuse).”

Not only is he a competitor, he is good.

On the season Collaros has passed for 1,918 yards, 20 touchdowns and just four interceptions, while completing 61.8 percent of his passes.

Stewart spent the off week evaluating the program, both offensively and defensively, as well as special teams.

But offense was the one area that received the most evaluation.

“(Offensive coordinator) Jeff Mullen and I sat down, put each play up, went through each call and situation and watched what worked and what didn’t,” Stewart said.

The Mountaineers will be back on the road at Louisville following the Cincinnati game.

Louisville’s win over Syracuse last week reopened the conference race, although Pitt currently has a grip on the race with a 3-0 mark.

It makes the Cincinnati game as important a game as WVU has had to date this season.

“We look forward to playing them,” Stewart said. “They have gotten us the last two years, so I hope our crowd is here in full force because we are going to need you.”

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