Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. -- West Virginia has shut out its past three opponents in the second half.
The defense might have to do that again tonight or else there could be a changing of the guard atop the Big East.
Cincinnati takes a 20-7 lead into intermission and has to feel like it should be ahead by more. The Bearcats had to settle for field goal attempts twice deep in the red zone. Jake Rogers banged one off the uprights late in the half, after he had tied the school record earlier in the game with his 13th straight conversion.
But Cincinnati has been moving the ball much more effectively than the Mountaineers. Quarterback Tony Pike, after starting out 3-for-10, completed 10 of his last 12 and went 6-for-6 on a second-half scoring drive. He's done an excellent job of avoiding pressure and keeping plays alive. He even did a Pat White impression by running in from four yards out for a score. For a 6-foot-6 guy, he can really move.
Except on one scoring drive, the Mountaineers haven't penetrated the Cincinnati side of the field. They've only run for 61 yards on 18 carries, a scant 3.4 yards per attempt, as the Cincinnati defense has kept White and Noel Devine hemmed in. And the Bearcats' defensive backs are hard to throw against consistently. Sooner or later, they're going to get their hands on one.
The Mountaineers have been so much better in the second halves of games lately. Let's see if they have another rally in them.