MORGANTOWN - Shaq Petteway, like most boys growing up in the town of Steubenville, Ohio, idolized those who suited up in the uniforms of the Big Red football team every Friday night.
As a youngster not quite ready for varsity time, he followed the exploits of an older quarterback named Zach Collaros as he led Steubenville to 30 victories and two state championships in two seasons.
"I just wanted to grow up and be Zach," Petteway said. "Zach, by far, is one of the best high school football players I've ever seen."
Petteway eventually found his way to the Steubenville varsity, earning accolades of his own right, including being a two-time All-Ohio pick as a linebacker.
During that time, Collaros tried persuading Petteway to cast his fate with the Bearcats. But instead, Petteway opted for West Virginia, where he is earning playing time on special teams and as a back-up defensive back.
"Zach was always trying to get me to go to Cincinnati," Petteway said. "Well, Cincinnati didn't offer me (a scholarship). Zach told me to keep the same work ethic we had at Steubenville."
Petteway is looking forward to going against his boyhood idol when his Mountaineers tangle with the Big East Conference-leading Bearcats at noon Saturday in Paul Brown Stadium. The game will be televised by ABC, and Petteway said Steubenville will be watching.
"I think this is going be fun," Petteway said. "It's going to be a big thing for our fans in Steubenville. I won't say the town is divided. They want to see us both have success."
Collaros is having a successful senior season. Twice a Big East Player of the Week selection in his career, Collaros has led the Bearcats to a 7-1 overall record and a 3-0 mark in the conference. He ranks third in the conference in passing yards and in total offense.
"Zach Collaros is the guy who makes that team go," WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. "You can tell he is the one who makes everyone play better. Zach Collaros does a good job of willing his team to victory."
Petteway said he hopes he gets a chance to bring down Collaros, saying it would be something special in his young career.
"Anything he can do to win, he's going to do it," Petteway said, noting he will go into the game with the same philosophy. "That's the way we're taught at Steubenville."