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Takeaways: Cincinnati Game Shows the Future is Now for WVU Football



WVU Football RB Jahiem White celebrating after a TD

WVU is entering the final week of the regular season with a chance to reach eight wins. That’s not something most expected to be the situation for the Mountaineers. And West Virginia achieved win number seven in one of their best performances of the season.

The pressure was on Neal Brown and WVU all week leading up to their eventual 42-21 beat down of Cincinnati on Saturday. This was due to the disappointment felt across Mountaineer Nation over the poor showing against Oklahoma.

What are my main takeaways from West Virginia’s win over a Bearcats team that’s struggled most of the season?

Jahiem White is Next Great WVU RB

It was said a couple weeks ago when he emerged against BYU, but freshman running back Jahiem White looks like he’s on his way to becoming the next great Mountaineer running back. Those are some big words to say about someone in his first college season, but White’s not just any ordinary player.

White ran for 204 yards and also took a short reception 75 yards to the house. He averaged 9.7 yards per carry. With CJ Donaldson’s status uncertain until kickoff, it was White’s time to shine. And he proved he was ready for the moment.

Watch: WVU RB Jahiem White Takes Pass 75 Yards to the House

The pressure of the final home game and honoring both the seniors as well as Don Nehlen could’ve been a lot to handle for a young athlete, but the pageantry of the day only seemed to motivate White to be at his absolute best.

While the future is never guaranteed, White’s speed, burst and ability to use his smaller size to his advantage by being elusive are all traits that have WVU fans fantasizing about enjoying the three-star recruit for years to come.

Zach Frazier, WVU OL Answered the Call

The WVU offensive line knew they had to respond after what happened in Oklahoma. They were not at their best and lost the battle of the trenches to the Sooners. But they also knew they were going up against a formidable foe in the Cincinnati defensive line, most notably Dontay Corleone.

There was hype centered around the matchup between Corleone and Zach Frazier. And as his college career winds down, Frazier is well aware that he’s constantly being evaluated by NFL scouts. This matchup within the game went to Frazier and that allowed the WVU offense to run all over the Bearcats.

WVU Football Zach Frazer against Cincinnati

Offensive Lineman Ja’Quay Hubbard, from left, Zach Frazier and Tomas Rimac lineup across from the Cincinnati Bearcats defensive lineman. WVSN photo by Kelsie LeRose

As a team, West Virginia ran for 425 yards. That was, of course, highlighted by White’s 204 yards and Garrett Greene’s 154. Five of the Mountaineers’ touchdowns were scored on the ground.

The line allowed Greene to cook too, keeping him mostly clean and without a sack all day long. It’s hard to ask for much more from an offensive line of a run-heavy team. Greene then called Frazier a future first round pick postgame.

Garrett Greene is Special and the Ultimate Competitor

Neal Brown referred to Garrett Greene as the ultimate competitor after West Virginia’s win over Cincinnati to close their home season, something that he put on display all day.

Greene accounted for 414 yards in the game, 210 through the air and 2024 on the ground. He also scored four touchdowns, three with his legs and one with his arm. His name was mentioned with the likes of Mountaineer legends Pat White and Steve Slaton. But most importantly to Greene, WVU beat Cincinnati 42-21.

That’s why what happened at Oklahoma bothered Greene so much. Not only did his team suffer a blowout loss, but he knows he did not do his part for his team. Brown said Greene took his poor performance on the road personally. And it was clear he definitely did.

“I think I was really itching to get back out there because what I showed at Oklahoma wasn’t my brand of football,” responded Greene when informed what his head coach said. Greene opened up about beating himself up over the loss and feeling he let his teammates, and even Mountaineer Nation, down.

WVU Football QB Garrett Greene scores TD through Cincinnati defense

Kelsie LeRose/WVSN

And while Greene hasn’t been perfect and has made some costly mistakes at times, he’s also morphed into the clear leader of the Mountaineers. Greene’s “never say die” attitude that can sometimes get him in trouble on the field galvanizes his team and makes them want to rally around him.

It’s now up to West Virginia to finish their mission of proving doubters wrong by capping off the 2023 season with a win and carrying that momentum to the bowl game.

Kickoff for West Virginia and Baylor is set for 7 pm ET and the game will be televised nationally on FS1.

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