Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 11/12/11

Just when it looked like West Virginia was on life support, the Mountaineers stepped up Saturday and scrambled the Big East race.

The Bearcats are still in control of their destiny, despite the 24-21 loss. Cincinnati's final three conference games are all winnable games. But if the Big East has taught us anything this year...there are no guarantees.

Cincinnati (7-2) was dealt a serious blow when it lost Zach Collaros to what looked like a pretty serious leg injury. With him out the Bearcats' chances of winning the league are certainly diminished, but you have to like Cincy's chances at Rutgers (Nov. 19), at Syracuse (Nov. 26) and Connecticut (Dec. 3).

Little used sophomore quarterback Munchie Legaux (seriously, who doesn't love that name?) played well in relief. However, it was easy to see how his inexperience hurt Cincinnati's chances to pull out a come-from-behind win.

Still, the Bearcats had a chance, but Eain Smith blocked Tony Miliano's field goal that would have tied the game.

For the Mountaineers (7-3), it was the first time since a loss to LSU at home that they played inspired football. The defense was flying around the field making big hits, and didn't allow the Bearcats extend too many drives.

WVU coach Dana Holgorsen has complained publicly about the Mountaineers' lack of emotion, so he has to be pleased with what he saw Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium. He had threatened to leave players behind if they didn't have the right attitude.

It looks like everyone had a seat on the bus after the game.

Geno Smith remains the team MVP after completing 29-of-43 passes for 372 yards, but it was the defense that won this game.

The Mountaineers get a week off before hosting rival Pitt the day after Thanksgiving and then travel to South Florida on Dec. 1. Even if WVU closes with two victories and gets to 9-3, Geno Smith and Co. are probably looking at the Champs Sports Bowl or the Belk Bowl.

Cincinnati will more than likely represent the Big East in a BCS Bowl for the third time and four years...and more than likely be embarrassed again.

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