By Bill Koch
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - Chet Ervin struggled at times last year as a freshman punter, but he has blossomed this year into a versatile special-teams star who not only punts, but also kicks field goals and kicks off.
Ervin, a sophomore from Sulphur, Ky., kicked three field goals in the University of Cincinnati's 15-13 victory over West Virginia, including a 37-yarder that was the difference in the game. The other two were from 44 and 43 yards.
He punted 10 times for a 42.5-yard average, frequently bailing UC out of bad field position.
"The past two weeks I've really been hitting the ball well in practice," Ervin said. "That brought my confidence up a lot."
Ervin, a placekicker in high school, likes the added duties.
"A lot of people think it's a hassle," he said. "But it keeps you in the game. You don't have to stretch as much. Plus, punting takes your mind off of field goals. It's not as stressful."
MAKING A STATEMENT: UC coaches did not make an issue of playing to impress the Big East as they prepared their team to face West Virginia, even though a strong performance against the Mountaineers might make them more attractive to the league's officials as they consider expansion.
Saturday's victory certainly didn't hurt.
"I think they've seen that we can play," said UC running back Richard Hall. "I heard some fans saying 'Conference USA' and laughing. We made a statement today."
GREEN RECEIVERS: Quarterback Gino Guidugli was 17-of-35 for 146 yards and one touchdown, but he still hasn't found a rhythm with his new receiving corps. Only four of his 17 completions were to wide receivers.
"We're getting there," Guidugli said. "They just need a little more experience."
Said UC coach Rick Minter: "We needed to throw the ball a lot better than what we did."
Up next for UC
Saturday: Temple (0-2) at the Bearcats (2-0)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
UC 15, WVU 13
Expanded duties a kick for special teams' Ervin
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