CINCINNATI — Talk is cheap.
Tickets to tonight’s game between West Virginia University and Cincinnati are not.
With the Big East championship possibly at stake, with the resurgent Bearcat program at heights no one could have seen five years ago, with a national television audience staring in from afar, this meeting between the two nationally ranked powers has this quiet old city on the banks of the Ohio River buzzing.
Cincinnati brings a No. 5 ranking in all polls into the 8 p.m. game that will be shown on ESPN2, WVU having jumped back into the rankings at No. 24 in the USA Today coaches’ poll.
The Bearcats are unbeaten through nine games, five of them in Big East Conference play. WVU is 7-2 and has won three of four conference games.
“This is what you want. This is why you play the game,” West Virginia quarterback Jarrett Brown said.
“This is what you dream for. This is what you came to college for. This is the reason you choose West Virginia, playing games like this,” Brown’s deep-threat wide receiver, Alric Arnett, added. “This is like a high school rivalry game. You don’t have to tell anyone to get up for this game. They already know.”
Cincinnati is 10-point favorite, but history says the game will be closer than that.
“We are anticipating a tough football game,” West Virginia coach Bill Stewart said. “We have played each other pretty tough over the years.”
Stewart recalled how one meeting between the two teams ended with a Cincinnati field goal hitting an upright, and how two years ago WVU pulled out a 28-23 victory.
Then, of course, last year the Mountaineers tied the game at Milan Puskar Stadium on Pat McAfee’s last-second field goal before losing in overtime.
To win, West Virginia must play better than it has leading into the game. After showing a high-powered offense built around the passing attack through the first five games, WVU has diminished over the past four games.
CINCINNATI — Talk is cheap.
- Bob Herzel
Bussie looks forward to WNBA
On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball
It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.
Gyorko, Padres agree to extension
Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.
HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved
From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.
WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI
There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.
HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball
The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.
WVU baseball drops seventh straight game
One’s athletic skills are tested on a daily basis but every so often other aspects of an athlete’s makeup are tested, often far more important aspects in the game of life.
Gold-Blue Game answers few questions at quarterback
Dana Holgorsen finds himself in a quarterback quandary.
He’s looking to have one quarterback and has five of them as spring practice ends, and nothing about the spring session has done anything to straighten out the situation.
Moore ‘back at home’ under center
There are a couple of ways to look at what Logan Moore did this spring after being moved back to quarterback and given a chance to compete for what is a wide open job, as wide open at the end of the spring as it was coming in.
The first is to say that he didn’t wow Dana Holgorsen to the point that he’s willing to say he’s the leader going into summer drills, but that would be shortsighted considering from where Moore came.
HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU punter turns heads at linebacker
They call him “Huey the Punter.”
His real name is Houstin Syvertson. His real position is not punter. Not anymore, anyway.
To be honest, until Saturday’s spring game, not many people following West Virginia football knew the name or the nickname. They know it now.
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