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I wonder if there has ever been a team in college football history that has been burned for three 50+ yard touchdown passes, had two kicks blocked, allowed three scoring drives that lasted fewer than 37 seconds . . . and won by 31 points.

 

Cincinnati's 69-38 win over Rutgers was like the top being lifted off of a boiling kettle - a month's worth of frustration came bursting out and the Scarlet Knights were overwhelmed.

 

"We had a great week of preparation and I liked out mindset all week," head coach Butch Jones said.  "We still made mistakes that we have to get corrected in special teams and on defense, but winning is hard and we're going to enjoy it."

 

"We come to work every day and when you fall short it burns a hole in you," said Isaiah Pead.  "Tonight we played like we had nothing to lose and had fun.  We played like we should have been playing all season and I'm proud of it."

 

I was convinced going into the game that after falling behind 14-3 to USF, 17-0 to Syracuse, and 30-0 to West Virginia, the key for Cincinnati to snap its three game losing streak was to avoid an early catastrophe. 

 

Shows you what I know.

 

On the opening kickoff, a penalty wiped out a 71-yard return by D. J. Woods.  After the UC offense went three-and-out, it took one play for Rutgers to score out of the "Wild Knight" formation as wide receiver Mohamed Sanu lofted a 51-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Thomas.  73 seconds into the game, it was 7-0 Rutgers.

 

"I'm very proud of the way we handled the adversity to start of the game," Zach Collaros said.  "We didn't feel like we handled that well last week at West Virginia so that was a point of emphasis.  The opportunity presented itself and we rebounded well.  I think we scored in about four plays so it was a great momentum shift for us." 

 

"We grew up a little bit and showed some maturity," Coach Jones said. 

 

The Bearcats also showed firepower as they scored touchdowns on seven of their next eight possessions.  UC had near-perfect balance as the 'Cats finished with 295 yards rushing, 366 yards passing, and averaged 7.7 yards per snap.

 

"I've been saying all year that when we run the ball like that, it makes it so much easier for us in the passing game because they can't drop eight - they have to load up the box," said Armon Binns.  "It gives us a lot of one-on-one matchups and a wide-open field."

 

The biggest standout was Isaiah Pead who had career highs in rushing attempts (31) and yards (213).  The junior running back scored 5 touchdowns (4 rushing, 1 receiving) - the most by a Bearcat since Ike Stewart scored 8 and Bob Heuck scored 6 in Cincinnati's 124-0 win over Transylvania in 1912.

 

"1912?  Geez, I didn't know the University of Cincinnati was even built then," Pead said.

 

"If you look at our wins this year, Isaiah has really been the main person in the offense," Collaros said.  "Anytime that we get him going, it makes everybody's job easier.  Isaiah is a great player and the more involved we get him, the better off we'll be."

 

When they don't turn the ball over or commit penalties, the Bearcats can score on anyone.  They're not going to drop 69 on either UConn or Pitt, but Cincinnati's offensive playmakers give the 'Cats a chance to win those two games and go to a bowl game for the fifth straight year.

 

"We finally clicked on all cylinders," said Armon Binns.  "We just approached the week like, 'We've got three more games together and we want to give it everything that we've got.'  The seniors want to be remembered on a good note."

 

I'd love to hear from you.  Please take a moment to tell me who you are and where you're from in the comments section or you can e-mail me at dhoard@pawsox.com.

 

And if you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

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