"Being that I've played in this league all these years, I know how it goes,'' said fifth-year senior defensive end Julian Miller, whose fumble recovery in the end zone for a touchdown was one of the material highlights of Saturday's win at Paul Brown Stadium. "Two losses doesn't mean you're out. We've just got to keep hope alive.''
This win did that.
As for West Virginia's path the rest of the way, first comes a week off. The Mountaineers now have nearly two weeks to prepare for what could be the last Backyard Brawl for a while, the day after Thanksgiving at Mountaineer Field. Six days after that is the season finale against South Florida in Tampa.
If WVU can win those two to finish 9-3 overall and 5-2 in the league, and if Cincinnati slips up at least once along the way, the Mountaineers' chances to earn the league's BCS berth would depend upon how many and which teams also finish 5-2. At 5-2, West Virginia would lose a head-to-head tie-breaker only against Louisville, but if more than two teams are tied then that head-to-head disadvantage against the Cardinals would likely be wiped out.
"We've put ourselves back in position, but we have to work and do what we do,'' Miller said. "We can only control what we do. We got a big win on the road [at Cincinnati] and the next thing is to get another big win in two weeks against Pitt.''
While that will certainly entail playing better offensively, defensively and on special teams - as well as eliminating penalties - Holgorsen is likely to continuing preaching the same thing above all else. West Virginia overcame all of the highs and lows and stops and starts in Saturday's game to maintain its intensity, and that will be the goal again when it is time to face Pitt and then South Florida.
"You've got to be able to do it,'' Holgorsen said. "We can't go home until the clock's at zero. If it lasts three hours or five hours, we can't go anywhere until it's zero-zero-zero, so you might as well stay there and do what you're supposed to do.
"We talked about that. Regardless of what happens, we've got to stay up. We've got to believe that we can win and we've got to find a way to win at the end.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.