By Zippy Zimmerman, RealWV
Jaheim White set another career high in rushing yards during his first career start as a Mountaineer. White and Garrett Greene were both able to handily deal with the Cincinnati Bearcats. The storied history between West Virginia and Cincinnati began 102 years ago. It took the Bearcats 81 years to win their first matchup against the Mountaineers. The last time the two had met prior to Saturday was in 2011, where an unranked WVU upset the 23rd ranked Bearcats at their home stadium. West Virginia re-ignited that long standing tradition of defeating Cincinnati this weekend at Milan Puskar Stadium.
The Mountaineer’s offense took the field first, but came up short on their opening possession after a rare missed field goal from Michael Hayes on a 52-yard attempt. The Bearcats went three and out on their first possession, being forced to punt back to West Virginia. WVU put together an impressive 91-yard drive that ended with a three-yard Greene scramble touchdown—something Mountaineer fans have become very accustomed to seeing from Greene this season.
Following the West Virginia score, Cincinnati retained possession, and would again be forced to punt back to the Mountaineers. West Virginia scored again after retaining possession, this time on a pass from Greene to White, which White took for 75-yards to the endzone. Following the score, the Mountaineers led 14-0 with 12:52 left in the second quarter. The Bearcats would again have to punt on their next possession after just four plays, but their defense came up with their first true stop of the night after forcing West Virginia to do the same. Unfortunately for Bearcat fans, following their defensive stop, they again would go three and out on offense and have to punt right back to West Virginia.
The Mountaineers scored in just two plays on their drive. Greene ran for a 27-yard gain on a quarterback draw, before CJ Donaldson capped off the drive with a 13-yard rushing touchdown. With the score, West Virginia extended its lead to 21 with 6:07 still left to play before the half. The Bearcats finally managed to string together a drive before half as their Emory Jones ran for a one-yard touchdown, but Greene and the Mountaineers quickly struck back before the half as Greene took the ball himself on a 26-yard touchdown run—his second of the day. The score going into the half was set at 28-7, with West Virginia in front.
Coming out of the half, the Bearcats would punt after an eight play, 26-yard drive. West Virginia again capitalized on the poor offensive play from Cincinnati, and scored on yet another Greene rush; this one an 18-yard run. From there on out, the Mountaineers controlled the ball game, never allowing the Bearcats to make it a competition. Cincinnati scored 14 in the fourth quarter after West Virginia had subbed out its starters, but the Mountaineers would still go on to win the contest by a final of 21-42.
Greene had a massive day, becoming the second quarterback to ever pass for over 200 yards, and rush for over 150. The only other West Virginia quarterback to do that you ask? The one and only Patt White, who did so against Pitt in 2006. Jahiem White also had an incredible day, rushing for 204-yards and a touchdown, and hauling in a 75-yard reception for another touchdown. This was White’s first game where he served as a starter out of the backfield for West Virginia, and he certainly impressed. The combination of Donaldson and White out of the backfield could prove to be extremely effective in the remaining games for the Mountaineers if they are utilized properly.
With a bounce back win for the Mountaineers, they move to (7-4) on the season. They will play Baylor in Texas next week for their final home game of season before a yet to be determined bowl game. If the Mountaineers win next week, they will move to (8-4) for the first time since 2108—Dana Holgorsen’s last season at WVU. With this week’s win, West Virginia Head Coach Neal Brown achieved his winningest season since taking over as head coach in 2019. Brown will look to lead his team into Baylor next week in the hopes of a win which could put them in position for a solid bowl game bid.