The Mountaineers did a lot of other things wrong, though. They were penalized 14 times for 95 yards and managed just 32 yards rushing on 32 carries. Smith was sacked five times and running back Dustin Garrison lost a fumble in the third quarter. Punter Michael Molinari averaged 37.1 yards on seven punts despite one 58-yard kick. Kicker Tyler Bitancurt had a field goal blocked and then missed short and to the left from 47 yards away with 2:01 to go.
Cincinnati's backup quarterback, Munchie Legaux, who passed for 144 yards and ran for 77 and a touchdown, quickly completed 34- and 14-yard passes to help the offense get to the WVU 15. The Bearcats actually called a timeout before Miliano's miss.
Miliano was the reigning national place kicker of the week after making four field goals in last week's win against Pitt. He was 0-for-2 Saturday.
"This is a classic example of trying to find a way to win," Holgorsen said. "The offense could have done it at the end and didn't. The field goal team could have knocked it through and made it a six-point game and didn't. The defense could have caved in at the end and let them score a touchdown and didn't. Then we block a field goal at the end. We found a way to win."
WVU took a hit early, but took control in the middle of the second quarter. Down 10-7, Collaros looked to pass on third-and-12 from his 15, but had to scramble and eventually dropped back to his goal line. Irvin and Goode pounced and Irvin popped the ball loose and into the end zone. Miller recovered for a touchdown and a 17-7 lead with 8:11 to go in the half.
Collaros was taken to the locker room on a cart. Legaux threw an interception to Tandy on his first possession and the offense sputtered on the final three possessions of the half.
The Bearcats led early, though, and WVU looked frazzled. The Mountaineers took the opening kickoff and Smith was sacked on the first play and hurried on the third. WVU's punt went just 38 yards and Cincinnati took over at its 46. Three plays later, Pead scored on a 40-yard run. WVU's defense has allowed a play of 40 yards or longer the past four games.
WVU countered and needed four plays to tie the score on Smith's 59-yard pass to Bailey, who shook off defensive holding and ran under the ball before running away from the defense.
Cincinnati went right back at WVU and was stopped at the 2 when it lined up to kick a field goal. WVU defensive lineman J.B. Lageman jumped offsides before the snap and the Bearcats decided to go for the touchdown on fourth down at the 1. Collaros tried to run right, but couldn't overpower Miller and Tandy.
After the first quarter, the Bearcats had 172 yards of offense and 22 plays. They snapped the ball 12 times in the second quarter and gained three yards. WVU's defense held on three third downs and forced two punts.
Bitancurt gave the Mountaineers a 10-7 lead with a 28-yard field goal after Cincinnati declined a holding penalty that would have moved WVU back to the 24 and likely asked Bitancurt to test his luck and try a longer field goal after third down.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.