CINCINNATI -- After Cincinnati and West Virginia traded quick touchdowns early in the first quarter, it appeared a shootout was in the works.
That could still happen, but neither team has been able to take advantage of some opportunities in the early going. The most glaring was the way Cincinnati was unable to convert a fourth-and-goal from the 1. The Bearcats had lined up for a short field goal, but an offside penalty on West Virginia moved the ball to the 1. Coach Butch Jones decided to go for it. Rather than run Isaiah Pead -- who had busted tackles left and right throughout the quarter -- he opted for the quarterback keeper with Zach Collaros.
But the West Virginia defense was there to greet him at the goal line and Cincinnati came away with no points. It was quite an impressive goal line stand for the Mountaineers, who adjusted nicely after allowing Pead to run for a 40-yard touchdown on the Bearcats' first drive.
West Virginia has tried to take advantage of some holes in the Cincinnati secondary, and did so when Geno Smith found Stedman Bailey for a 59-yard touchdown pass. But the Bearcats have gotten consistent pressure on Smith. It hasn't helped that the Mountaineers have been flagged six times for 35 yards.