Milan Puskar Stadium (60,000/Field Turf)
Saturday’s game is the 19th meeting between Cincinnati and West Virginia, with the Mountaineers holding a 14-3-1 series lead … The series dates to 1921 as the schools met five times between then and 1940 … West Virginia went 11-0-1 in the first 12 meetings, but the teams have split the last six … The last three meetings have been decided by a combined 11 points … Cincinnati has won the last two by a combined six points, including a 24-21 decision at Nippert Stadium last year … Bearcat QB Tony Pike came off the bench to throw two touchdown passes and RB Isaiah Pead ran for 175 yards and a TD last in last year’s win.
CINCINNATI (3-5, 1-2 BIG EAST)
Butch Jones (Ferris State ’90)
3-5, first season at Cincinnati
30-17, fourth season as collegiate head coach
Cincinnati hits the road looking to snap a two-game slide … The Bearcats were idle last week following a 31-7 setback to Syracuse … Cincinnati has scored 35, 40 and 45 points in its three wins and has gone 0-5 when it has scored 30 points or fewer … Cincinnati leads the BIG EAST in total offense (425.2 yards per game) and ranks second in scoring (27.4 ppg), but is seventh in total defense (354.5 ypg) and eighth in scoring defense (24.4 ppg) … QB Zach Collaros missed the game against Syracuse with a knee injury, but is expected to return against West Virginia … Collaros leads the BIG EAST in passing (274.0 yards per game) and total offense (285.4 ypg) … Collaros has thrown for 1,918 yards and 20 touchdowns against just four interceptions … RB Isaiah Pead is fifth in the BIG EAST in rushing at 88.3 yards per game … LB J.K. Schaffer is third in the conference in tackles (9.2 per game) … Bearcat coach Butch Jones was an assistant coach at West Virginia from 2005-06.
WEST VIRGINIA (5-3, 1-2 BIG EAST)
Bill Stewart (Fairmont State ’75)
23-11, third season at West Virginia
31-36, sixth year as collegiate head coach
West Virginia, which had a bye last week, has lost back-to-back games for the first time since the 2008 season after falling to Connecticut in overtime Oct. 29 … West Virginia remains the only team in the nation that has not allowed more than 21 points in a game this season … The Mountaineers rank fourth nationally in both total defense (249.8 ypg) and scoring defense (13.6 ppg) while leading the BIG EAST in both categories … RB Noel Devine, who has been slowed by nagging injuries, has rushed for 693 yards and four touchdowns … QB Geno Smith has thrown for 1,696 yards and 15 touchdowns with five interceptions … WR Jock Sanders is second in the BIG EAST in receptions (5.8 per game), while WR Tavon Austin is fourth (5.2 per game) … CB Keith Tandy is tied for the BIG EAST lead with four interceptions … DE Bruce Irvin has registered seven sacks, while LB Najee Goode and DT Chris Neild have three each … S Terence Garvin has a team-high 52 tackles … West Virginia has back-to-back road games — at Louisville and Pittsburgh — up next.