The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

November 8, 2009

‘This is a juggernaut’

Stewart, WVU have tall task of stopping Cincy

MORGANTOWN — On Saturday night, long after his West Virginia football team had sleepwalked through a victory over Louisville, Coach Bill Stewart sat down before his television to watch the most frightening show he’d seen since the glory days of “The Twilight Zone.”

This one wasn’t produced by Rod Serling, however. Instead, it was the creation of the inventive mind of one Brian Kelly, the Cincinnati coach who runs perhaps the brightest, most inventive offense in college football.

When it was over, Kelly’s Bearcats had put up 47 points and needed nearly every one of them as a brave Connecticut team lost yet another heartbreaker, 47-45.

West Virginia puts its season on the line Friday night in Cincinnati against the No. 4, undefeated Bearcats.

If there was some hope in seeing Cincinnati give up 45 points, it had to be lost in an avalanche of Bearcat yardage that wound up at 711, or 438 more than WVU could record against a mediocre Louisville defense.

“Cincinnati is powerful,” said Stewart. “I don’t know what we are going to do.”

Now pumping up your opponent while downplaying your own chances is as old a trick as football coaches have, dating back to the days of Paul “Bear” Bryant and beyond. They would have the public think they the only thing that can save them from a terrible defeat is a bus wreck on the way to the stadium, while in private they build confidence in their own team.

Well, if that’s what Stewart is doing, it is best that any members of his team who regularly read these pages cancel their subscription, for he’s going to scare them half to death.

”They are just potent. I look at their scores — they are averaging 40 points a game. We can’t cancel it, so we are going to have to go do the best we can,” he said.

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Bob Herzel
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