Big East race gets even more intriguing with Cincinnati's loss

It's not a college football season without the Big East lacking a true conference powerhouse.

Cincinnati failed to remain unbeaten on Saturday, falling to preseason conference favorite West Virginia 24-21 at home. The Bearcats not only lost the game, but they lost starting quarterback Zach Collaros to a right leg injury in the second quarter. He did not return.

While backup signal-caller Munchie Legaux played well in relief, the Bearcats could not do what they have been doing all season long in league play -- come from behind and win. Cincy had a chance to tie the game and force overtime with :02 left, but kicker Tony Miliano's 31-yard field goal attempt was blocked after a high snap from center. Miliano missed another field goal earlier in the game just one week after going 4-of-4 in a win over Pittsburgh.

Once again West Virginia didn't play a great game, taking too many penalties, not executing consistently in the red zone and enduring poor special teams play before its game-saving blocked field goal (the Mountaineers had one of their own field goal attempts blocked), but Dana Holgorsen's squad survived to be one of five teams in the league with two losses.

Cincinnati travels to Rutgers next week, which will be another tough test for the Bearcats offense against a stingy Scarlet Knights defense. The question now remains whether Cincy will have the services of Collaros in that game.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

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