Cincinnati football coach Butch Jones lamented the fact that his Bearcats team has not played a game at the on-campus Nippert Stadium since Sept. 22.
That streak will continue Saturday as Cincinnati entertains West Virginia at noon in a game which will be played at Paul Brown Stadium, the home of the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals. ABC will broadcast the game.
"We need a great crowd," Jones said during Monday's Big East Conference teleconference. "We need to make that a home-field advantage. Fan support is going to be important."
Cincinnati leads the Big East Conference with a 3-0 record, and the Bearcats are 7-1 overall. WVU, the pre-season pick to win the Big East, sets in fourth with a 2-2 record and is 6-3 overall.
"Cincinnati is playing with that thing that I think is the most important thing in college football," WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. "They are playing with energy, playing with excitement and playing with some effort. They do a good job with that, and we need to be able to match that."
Jones said the energy and emotion have come because the Bearcats have found ways to overcome adversity and win football games.
"When you win, that breeds confidence," he said. "It's that mental energy, not just on game day, but through the course of the week. Our players are holding each other accountable. It's better to be a player-coached team than a coach-coached team. We're still not where we need to be, but I like the progress we're making."
Jones did say that some of the adversity his team has had to fight through has been of its own making, a trend he said needs to stop down the season's final stretch.
"We have a challenging four-game stretch starting off with the premier team in our conference, West Virginia," he said. "The deficits we've had to overcome, we can't continue to do that. We've got to get off to faster starts. We understand what's at stake."
Jones said he is proud of the way his players have battled back, adding it creates a feeling of team spirit.
"It benefits us because you always talk about a championship character," he said. "We have found ways to win football games."