WVU doesn#039;t want close call

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 12, 2003

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia's Rasheed Marshall couldn't stand to watch last year's final moments against Cincinnati.

The Bearcats' Jonathan Ruffin was about to try a 49-yard field goal to erase an 18-point deficit and tie last year's game with the Mountaineers.

''I just turned my back,'' Marshall said. ''If it went through, then overtime. If he missed, the game was over.''

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The kick hit the left upright as time ran out, and West Virginia won 35-32.

''I heard our sideline going crazy and I knew we won,'' Marshall said. ''I wasn't praying, but I was certainly hoping.''

The Mountaineers (1-1) don't want any such dramatics when they host Cincinnati (1-0) on Saturday.

''Hopefully it won't come that close this year,'' said West Virginia defensive lineman Ernest Hunter. ''Hopefully it'll be a little more in the bag.''

Cincinnati doesn't figure to wait until the fourth quarter this time to get its offense on track, especially after its performance in the season opener two weeks ago.

The Bearcats piled up 361 rushing yards in a 40-3 win over East Carolina. Afterward, Bearcats coach Rick Minter said he would know more about his team when the Pirates played West Virginia last Saturday.

West Virginia also had 361 rushing yards and won 48-7. Minter believed he had his answer.

''We may not be very good. East Carolina got handled pretty good,'' Minter said.

West Virginia coach Rick Rodriguez doesn't believe him.

Not after watching Gino Guidugli lead two late touchdown drives and getting the Bearcats in position to tie the West Virginia game last year.