3. A big play on special teams leads the Mountaineers to victory
We’ve covered offense, we’ve covered defense, so why not the WVU special teams unit?
At the moment, the Mountaineers sit as 6.5-point favorites over Cincinnati. In a rivalry game being played for the first time in over a decade, and a Cincinnati team that is coming off of its first Big 12 victory, expect a close game in Morgantown on Saturday afternoon.
The special teams units are important in every football game. However, in three games this season for West Virginia, plays on special teams have played major factors in the game’s eventual outcome.
As a two-touchdown underdog in Fort Worth, the Mountaineers pitched a second-half shutout to beat the Horned Frogs of TCU. WVU won by a final score of 24-21 thanks to not just one, but two blocked field goal attempts late in the 4th quarter.
The Hail Mary in the loss to the Houston Cougars on a Thursday night is what received the national spotlight coming out of that game, and rightfully so. However, it was Matthew Golden’s 100-yard kickoff return late in the first quarter that got the Cougars on the board. Had that not happened maybe the Mountaineers would’ve avoided the Hail Mary situation. Special teams play cost the Mountaineers in this one.
Special teams play was costly again in the Mountaineers’ loss to the Cowboys of Oklahoma State. With a lead early in the fourth quarter, it was a muffed punt that gave the Cowboys the ball back and allowed them to score the go-ahead touchdown, a lead they would not relinquish.
Special teams will be key to watch in this matchup with Cincinnati. It could be WVU’s Preston Fox breaking off a big punt return or another blocked field goal helping to lead West Virginia to victory in their final home game of the season. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. ET from Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown.