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Miscues plague slumping WVU, Cincinnati

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By Tony Dobies
Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010
 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- After two straight losses and many miscues, West Virginia spent its week off working on fundamentals.

The Mountaineers' offense had seven fumbles in a loss to Connecticut a week after throwing three interceptions in a defeat to Syracuse. West Virginia (5-3, 1-2 Big East Conference) will try to eliminate those issues against Cincinnati (3-5, 1-2) at noon Saturday.

"They're Mountaineers, so they're practicing hard," WVU coach Bill Stewart said. "We've been working hard on fundamentals to try to get better. We haven't arrived yet.

"We're going to try to do the right things and cross out Ts and dot our Is. We want to finish with a stretch run."

Cincinnati is also stressing fundamentals. The Bearcats are also enduring a two-game losing streak and are ranked 116th in the country in turnover margin.

First-year coach Butch Jones said he has been proud of his team for its ability to keep a positive attitude despite the losses to South Florida and Syracuse.

"Our kids have been extremely resilient," Jones said. "They come to work every day, and you see the extra film study going on. Although they are all disappointed, we still need to finish strong."

Stewart said he sees similarities in the teams because of the turnover problems and inability to finish.

"Both teams need a win, and both teams haven't played to their potential up to this point, so it will be a very interesting matchup," Stewart said.

\

Cincy QB returns

Jones expects his starting quarterback Zach Collaros to start against West Virginia after missing his team's game against Syracuse with a knee injury.

Jones said Collaros' knee is "much better," and he fully participated in practice Sunday.

"We fully anticipate that he's going to play Saturday," Jones said.

No fan of Stewart

Entrepreneur Vince Skolny, a 1995 WVU graduate in economics, sent a mass e-mail to 3,000 WVU students, placed messages on Facebook and bought additional advertisements on the Web on Monday morning in an attempt to sell T-shirts and other items he's made to support the firing of Stewart. The items pointed specifically at WVU athletic director Oliver Luck read, "Mr. Luck, 'Leave No Doubt' We demand better."

Stewart has been highly criticized by the Mountaineers' fans following two straight losses. Skolny said 25 percent of the profit he makes on the items sold will go to the Mountaineer Athletic Club.

"I expect to be accused of profiteering or being disloyal," Skolny said. "The fact is, (West Virginia) is completely out of the national picture, and if the program doesn't change direction that's just going to remain the case."

Skolny said he received one e-mail back from a student calling him "a traitor."

"He said I was no better than (former WVU and current Michigan coach Rich) Rodriguez," Skolny said.

Big East battle

West Virginia's game against Louisville on Nov. 20 will be played at noon. It is the Big East Network Game of the Week.

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