Bearcats Breakfast 9.12.11

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If it's specific game rehash of Saturday's loss to Tennessee you are looking for, you won't find it here. If you would like to hear again all about what happened you can read about it all over the place and you probably have by now.

Here are three pieces from Bill Koch at the Enquirer. Notebook. Sidebar on defense. And here's the Cats talking about moving forward.

JK Schaffer talked about this team's response being a defining moment of the season. You love his attitude and leadership. The only question is if attitude and leadership will be enough. We shall see over the next 10 days as UC hosts Akron on Saturday and quick turnaround against NC State a week from Thursday.

Zippy.jpg As for the Zips --- you never take a team for granted. But if you ever were given the opportunity to take one for granted, you'd probably start with them.

Akron has been outscored 83-3 in its first two games. They lost 42-0 at Ohio State and dismantled 41-3 at home against Temple.

Akron has been able to pass the ball successfully at times but been a disaster in the running game. They average 1.4 yards per carry. They are also just 5 of 27 on third-down conversions.

This is coming off of a 1-11 season that featured eight double-digit losses.

I know it's tough to tell by the joy illustrated in this picture, but Zippy has fallen on tough times.

He's undeniably drowned his sorrows in many two-liters of Pepsi.

Let's eat....

--- I will take a minute to revisit the four goals for the game set forth on Friday and see how UC fared. But then no rehash.

1. Hold UT to less than three yards per carry. Not achieved. Tennessee averaged 3.6  yards per rush. The Bearcats did a decent job of slowing the Vols running game and making them one-dimensional. The only problem was the proficiency of that other dimension. Tauren Poole carried 21 times for 101 yards and was able to help salt the game away late.

2. Record more than three sacks. Not achieved. Pressuring Tyler Bray was going to help mask any inequities in the secondary. As any Bearcats fan is all to aware, this didn't happen. The Cats had one hit on the QB and zero sacks. The attempt was to reach Bray with four down lineman, but it never happened. It allowed Bray to carve up the secondary to a Vols record 81 percent completion clip.

3. No more than one turnover. Check. UC did a nice job of not turning the ball over. Zach Collaros didn't throw a pick and despite the team putting it on the ground twice, the Cats recovered both fumbles. UC even forced two Tennessee fumbles to flip field position. Unfortunately, the two fourth-and-1 stops at midfield essentially served as turnovers probably played a larger role than either of the two UC takeaways.

4. Isaiah Pead accumulates more than 150 yards. Check. Pead looked like the best player on the field. His 65-yard run was one of those moments few fans will forget. He finished with 14 carries for 155 yards at an 11.1 ypc average. He also caught two passes for 15 yards. If the game had been closer Pead could have had more touches and it would have been a different story.

--- By the way, Pead now averaging 11.5 yards per carry. That is tops in the nation among players with more than 12 carries.

--- Schaffer referenced the 2008 game at Oklahoma being a defining moment to their Big East championship run. UC went down 52-26 in Norman that year and responded to win 10 of their next 11 and take the Big East title.

In fact, if you look back at the past four Big East champions -- outside of the 2009 perfect regular season anomaly -- each eventual BE champion suffered a testing early-season defeat. in the case of UConn last year, they took two early games on the chin. 

2010: UConn   L 30-10 @Michigan; L 30-16 @ Temple
2009: UC        Perfect
2008: UC        L 52-26 @Oklahoma
2007: WVU     L 21-13 vs USF (BE opener)

--- While keeping an eye on future opponents, NC State lost to Wake Forest, 34-27, on Saturday. Remember, that's the same Wake team that had Cuse beat in the the Dome the first week of the season. If not for an injury to their starting QB, they probably would be 2-0.

That loss is no knock on the Wolfpack, who will be good competition for UC, especially taking into consideration new QB Mike Glennon was 24 of 41 for 315 yards and three TDs against Wake. It will be another stiff test for the Cats pass defense.

--- UC finds itself in like company as a Big East team looking to regroup after a rough weekend for the conference.

Outside of South Florida, who discarded of Ball State by 30, no team is feeling all that great about themselves today.

--- Louisville (1-1) lost to Florida International at home, 24-17.
--- Rutgers actually played well, but still lost at North Carolina, 24-22.
--- Pittsburgh barely hung on to beat CAA power Maine, 35-29. 
--- WVU trailed Norfolk St. at home 12-10 at half before piling it on for a 55-12 win.
--- Syracuse needed a late TD to fend off Rhode Island, 21-14.
--- UConn blew a late seven-point lead for a 24-21 loss at Vandy.

Say what you will about the way UC played on Saturday, this conference is still as wide open as we all believed it would be before the season started.

The coaches are in the business of focusing on one game at a time. I am not. Akron and Miami are on the horizon. Two games UC will be heavily favored in. If they can beat NC State at home in a wild Thursday night national TV atmosphere, they enter BE play at 4-1. How would you have felt about that prior to the season?

Some randomness...

--- Why other countries point and laugh at America: Obese man suing White Castle for not making the booths bigger.

--- Tony Stewart turned on the media (1:50 mark) after a race this week and called them out for being unoriginal. Tough to watch if you've ever been on this side of the recorder. However, having seen the same questions answered by the same guy over and over again, you know it's only a matter of time until this was said.

This is the latest example of why I love the post-race interviews in NASCAR. Nobody is more blunt or quick to throw competitors under the bus than these drivers. Always great TV.

--- The Swedish authorities are having problems with drunken moose. Aren't we all.

--- Big congratulations to Jeremy Martin, from UC's sports information department on the birth of his second child, William Emerson Martin. Between him and new father Tommy G, UC may need to account for a significant coffee spike in this quarter's budget.

And this is for you, Jeremy. Since you will undeniable feed a heavy dose of Steelers to young William.

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