WVU hosts Cincinnati for Senior Day, Nehlen celebration

MORGANTOWN — There’s a heavyweight match brewing in Milan Puskar Stadium on Saturday.

When West Virginia (6-4, 4-3 Big 12) hosts Cincinnati (3-7, 1-6) this weekend (2:30 p.m./ESPN+), the battle to keep an eye on will be in the trenches between two of the best players in the country at their positions, UC defensive tackle Dontay Corleone and WVU center Zach Frazier.

“If you like watching the big guys up front, that’ll be the matchup to watch for sure,” Cincinnati coach Scott Satterfield said. 

Both Frazier and Corleone will be surefire All-Big 12 selections at the end of this season and both are former All-Americans.

Frazier anchors one of the best offensive lines in the Big 12 and has collected just about every honor an offensive lineman can this season, the latest being an invitation to the Reese’s Senior Bowl announced on Friday.

“I think their strength is their offensive line and Frazier is the anchor of that offensive line,” Satterfield said. “One of the best centers in the country who does and outstanding job, is strong, plays with great balance and always seems to be in great position.”

Corleone is a force in the middle of the Bearcats’ defense and is a big reason why UC is in the top five in the Big 12 in run defense. He’s accounted for 35 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks this season.

“They have the best interior d-lineman in our conference,” WVU coach Neal Brown said. He’s special and we’re really going to have to know where he’s at. He’s a disruptor. He’s a guy that, if you didn’t have to play against him, you’d really appreciate how he plays. “

The Mountaineers are looking to bounce back from their worst loss of the season, 59-20 against Oklahoma last week.

“A really good football team. They didn’t play their best last week against Oklahoma, but I think Oklahoma maybe played their best game,” Satterfield said. “It’ll be Senior Day for them, so we know we’ll get their best shot.”

Cincinnati, meanwhile, is looking to carry on the momentum from its first Big 12 win, 24-14 over Houston last week.

“I have zero doubt that our guys will bounce back. It’s been a resilient group all year,’ Brown said. “We’ll bounce back, we’ll play well on Saturday and we’ll play well at home.”

Honoring Nehlen

In addition to WVU’s seniors who choose to walk, the Mountaineers will also be honoring hall-of-fame former coach Don Nehlen during the game.

“Probably the most important thing Saturday is that we’re honoring Coach Nehlen,” Brown said. “I hope we have a big turnout. I know our fanbase really appreciates him and I hope he can feel that when he gets announced.”

Nehlen, who complained a 149-93-4 record over 21 seasons with the Mountaineers from 1980-2000, will have his name added to the Diversified Energy Terrace inside Milan Puskar Stadium alongside the Mountaineers’ retired numbers.

“If you get your name put in the stadium permanently, that’s a pretty damn good deal,” Brown said. “I have a great deal of respect for him as a coach. He did it for a long time here and he did it the right way. I really feel like the longer he’s been away, the more appreciation our fanbase has for him, as well they should.”


A pair of offensive starters were questionable for this game throughout the week and Brown offered a little clarity on their situations during his radio show Thursday evening.

Right tackle Doug Nester has missed parts or all of the last three games, but Brown announced he will start this Saturday against UC.

Running back CJ Donaldson did not finish last week’s game at Oklahoma and will be a game-time decision this week. Donaldson has scored a touchdown in eight straight games and leads WVU with 10 this season.