MORGANTOWN -- West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez said he wasn't surprised Cincinnati is a six-point favorite over his Mountaineers.
"Rick (Minter) has been there eight or nine years and has really built up their program," Rodriguez said Tuesday during his weekly press conference. "I read somewhere where he said he expects this to be his best team.
"I've known him since my days at Tulane and he's a real good coach."
The Bearcats (1-0) are coming off a 36-29 overtime win over Texas Christian. Last season, Cincinnati was 7-5, that included a 23-16 loss to Toledo in the Motor City Bowl.
"Wisconsin lost there a couple of years ago, so they'll be confident against us I'm sure," Rodriguez said.
He was quick to point out other teams have gone to Cincinnati in recent seasons with mixed results. Two years ago, the Bearcats surprised Syracuse at Nippert Stadium. Last season, they lost to Purdue, 19-14, at home.
"Geographically, it's close for our fans," Rodriguez said. "Plus, we recruit Ohio pretty heavily, so it's a chance for our coaches to get out some and recruit a little bit.
"This is a chance for kids in that area to see our team that otherwise might not get to."
n SEARCHING FOR MO: Rodriguez and his staff have stressed the need for big plays from special teams this week in practice.
"It's just something we didn't do last week at Wisconsin and it's something we need to on the road especially," he said. "Momentum is such a big factor on the road and it's difficult to get.
"A big play on special teams or a 60-yard pass or turnover on defense can turn a game around and take the crowd out of the game. That's something this team needs to have."
KEYS TO SINKING CINCY: In addition to special teams, Rodriguez emphasized the Mountaineers would have to do a better job of defending the pass against the Bearcats, who feature a pro-style quarterback in Gino Guidugli.
"We need to rush the passer better and we need to cover a little better," Rodriguez said. "And we need to create some turnovers.
"On offense, we've got to establish the run and get some continuity going."
INJURY UPDATE: Backup tailback Quincy Wilson left the Wisconsin game in the first half with a minor concussion. He will be ready to go against Cincinnati.
Cornerback Anthony Mims is still out with hamstring problems, but Rodriguez is hopeful he'll be back for the East Carolina game on Sept. 28.
No decision has been made yet as to whether tight end Darnell Glover, who suffered a torn ACL in the Tennessee-Chattanooga game, will have surgery, or try rehabilitation.
Sports writer Greg Talkington can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org