There were also more special-teams blunders.
Tyler Bitancurt, who later missed a 47-yard field goal, had his second field goal blocked in as many weeks at the end of that third-quarter drive with the two holding calls. But that actually might not have been a bad thing had it worked out.
After John Hughes blocked the 39-yard try, the ball fluttered over the line and into open space. It would have been UC's ball automatically, except that a Bearcat touched the ball and it slipped away from him. That made it a live ball and Matt Molinari, the holder, had a clear shot at it. But instead of falling on the ball he tried to pick it up and couldn't. Cincinnati eventually recovered at its 4-yard line.
Molinari also continued to have his problems punting, although Holgorsen stuck with him and never went to Corey Smith. Molinari did have a career-best 58-yarder and had a 52-yarder on his first attempt. But that first attempt was nullified by a delay penalty, and he kicked a 38-yarder the second time.
Molinari also had two wobblers of 26 and 36 (the second thanks to a roll) and had a 33-yarder into the end zone that netted just 13 yards.
Holgorsen's threat to bring only 50 to 55 players on the trip didn't materialize. Then again, perhaps the mere threat accomplished its purpose.
Holgorsen said Tuesday he would bring only those players he felt wanted to play and were giving full effort, and if it meant trimming down the normal travel roster from 65 or 70, so be it.
Well, the dress list on Saturday included 64 players, not far off the normal.
And because West Virginia's staff doesn't generally discuss injuries, it's difficult to tell how many - if any - players were left behind because of injuries or because Holgorsen felt they hadn't bought in.
The fact is, there were five players who are normally on the depth chart or who play regularly who did not dress for the game against Cincinnati. But four are confirmed injured - Terence Garvin, Brantwon Bowser, Brad Starks and Josh Taylor. Other than those four, the only player on a recent depth chart not on the trip was John Bassler, who is listed as the backup center.
But he's not really the backup center. That would be starting left guard Jeff Braun, who moved over last week when center Joe Madsen missed one play. Braun was then replaced by Quinton Spain. The depth chart was changed to reflect that this week.
There are other non-freshman scholarship players who didn't dress, but they haven't been on the travel squad for weeks - Cole Bowers, Mike Dorsey and Trey Johnson to name a few. Oh, and receiver Coley White did not make the trip, nor did normal backup long-snapper Trent Lusk, who was replaced by Jerry Cooper.
The injuries to Garvin and Bowser - both reportedly head injuries - did throw the WVU defense into a bad spot. Travis Bell started for Garvin, but twice left the game with his own injuries only to return. The loss of Bowser forced changes in WVU's third-down package.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com