UC/WVU Post Game Report

The Bearcats lost to the Mountaineers for the third consecutive time, but this one was definitely different from the last two routs.

When the 2007 football season began, few people expected the Cincinnati Bearcats to challenge for a Big East title, but that is exactly what happened. Cincinnati battled the West Virginia Mountaineers until the final minutes of Saturday's game at Nippert Stadium before succumbing to the #5 ranked Mountaineers by a 28-23 final score.

For the third time this season, Nippert Stadium attracted a sellout crowd of 35,097 fans. Among those spectators were representatives from both the Orange Bowl and Fiesta Bowl.

West Virginia made it look easy when they took their opening possession 70 yards to jump out to a 7-0 lead, but later Ben Mauk's successful pooch punt put the Mountaineers inside their own five-yard-line, and the Bearcat defense stiffened on WVU's second possession. After an excellent West Virginia punt that traveled approximately 71 yards, Ben Mauk hit Marcus Barnett for a 70 yard TD strike and the score was knotted at 7-7.

The difference maker on this night was Pat White. The dual threat quarterback put his team ahead to stay in the second quarter on a 7 yard touchdown run, and after a 42 yard Jake Rogers' field goal for the Bearcats, White found the end zone again giving his team a 21-10 halftime lead.

In the third quarter, Steve Slaton scored on a 1 yard run giving WVU what looked like an insurmountable lead (28-10), and many Bearcat fans headed for the exits with 11:43 left in the game. But the Bearcat coaches, players and the majority of the UC fans were not yet ready to give up on their dream of being invited to a BCS bowl, and after a 13 yard touchdown pass from Mauk to Barnett bringing the score to 28-17, the Bearcats were trying to claw their way back into the game with 7:14 left.

On the ensuing kickoff, Cincinnati was penalized 15 yards for a phantom face mask call on Aaron Webster, but a fumbled snap recovered by UC at the West Virginia 44-yard-line gave Cincinnati fans even more optimism. The Bearcats wasted that opportunity after a holding call and a sack and punted to the Mountaineers with slightly over 6 minutes remaining in the game.

As well as Pat White played amassing 295 total yards of offense, the Mountaineer quarterback again fumbled committing his third turnover on the night, and this time, the Bearcats converted the West Virginia miscue into a Bradley Glatthaar 1 yard score. Coach Kelly chose to go for the two point conversion to try and cut the lead to three points, but Cincinnati's pass fell incomplete making the score 28-23 in favor of WVU.

With only 2:26 left on the clock, Cincinnati tried an unsuccessful onside kick, and West Virginia managed to run out the clock after picking up a couple of first downs.

The Bearcats were unable to run the football for most of the night getting only 84 of their 407 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, White and Steve Slaton combined for 258 rushing yards against UC.

The statistical battle was pretty even in most categories except one. The Mountaineers sacked Ben Mauk five times while Cincinnati's defense was unable to catch Pat White behind the line of scrimmage.

Sidenote: There were several players in attendance that have verbally committed to play football next year at UC. Among them were J. K. Schafer, Jared Rains, Dominique Battle, Bruce Horner, Evan Davis and Ike Iloegbu. All were on unofficial visits.

Dominique Battle and his father drove 15 hours from Florida to see the game, and all described their verbal commitments to Cincinnati as "solid."

Bearcat Insider will also be contacting some of the other recruits at yesterday's game in the coming days.

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