West Virginia in the Big East's BCS triangle
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia is still waiting for that one game with solid performances on both sides of the ball.
The third-place Mountaineers (7-2, 3-1 Big East) will need that statement game on Friday night in easily their toughest test of the season at conference co-leader Cincinnati (9-0, 5-0).
Even if West Virginia pulls out a win against the perfect Bearcats, there's other marquee matchups at home against co-leader Pitt on Nov. 27 and the regular-season finale at Rutgers on Dec. 5.
"Now it's a three-game season," said West Virginia linebacker Reed Williams. "After all the games that we've played this season, it comes down to these three and we have to have them. To have our destiny in our hands, it's huge for us."
For Pitt, it's a two-game Big East season. The Panthers face Notre Dame this week and have a week off before meeting their final two opponents — WVU in the Backyard Brawl and Cincinnati on Dec. 5.
West Virginia's defense held Louisville out of the end zone on Saturday but the offense struggled most of the game against the conference's worst defense. Running back Noel Devine missing most of the second half nursing a sore ankle and the Mountaineers crawled to a 17-9 win.
"We stopped ourselves a couple times," said West Virginia quarterback Jarrett Brown. "We're still waiting on that game where the offense and the defense are on the same page and give a complete game."
It definitely didn't happen Saturday.
West Virginia is still shuffling its young offensive line in an attempt to find the right combination. Eric Jobe started at center against Louisville after spending time at right guard earlier this season, while Joe Madsen moved from center to right guard.
The offense managed just 14 first downs against Louisville and had its lowest output of the season in points and yards with 273.
Brown went 9 of 17 for just 94 yards. With Devine touching the ball just once in the second half, Jock Sanders led the Mountaineers in rushing with 66 yards on 12 carries.