Ranking Isaiah Pead's Top Moments

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The career of Isaiah Pead spanned four years of games at Nippert Stadium. Over that time he's accumulated 3,071 rushing yards on 494 carries. He became the first UC player in 25 seasons to post back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.

He scored 26 rushing touchdowns, good for third in the UC record books.

PeadVsNCState.jpgHe recorded ten 100-yard rushing games.

Pead spun, sprinted and slid. He stopped, started and shook. He broke tackles and ankles, records and spirits. He took away wills and breaths.

His memorable plays changed the dynamic of every game. Though, his most memorable didn't even count.

No matter what the outcome, in seemingly every game he entered he left you walking away happy to say you saw it live.

As his final chance to dazzle the Nippert crowd comes Saturday, it only seemed logical to attempt to rank the top moments of Isaiah Pead's career. Upon compiling the list, I hoped to find enough on YouTube to allow for a decent sample size. Then I kept finding more. Some that I forgot about and some I could never forget.

I'll break them down into rankings from Pead, myself and the fans with commentary from Pead on all of them.

Sitting down to watch Pead watch his runs was one of the more enjoyable experiences of this season. Almost as enjoyable as watching the guy run. Almost.

Without further ado:

Pead's No. 1: The run that never was

Oklahoma, 2010

ISAIAH PEAD: "Has to be No.1, it's only right. The best run that never happened. It was just determination and took it back to the fundamentals. Day 1 when you are taught football you play to the whistle. And the whistle wasn't blown and just kept playing. The determination of running a guy over, stiff-arming another guy, trying to stay in bounds on the last one, even though it didn't count, I still look at it as a good memory."

No. 23 describing the play: "This one, was pretty much a keep-playing play. I got swung and it could still be argued to this day that the wrist was down. I don't think anything in my body touched the ground. I got up and the defender looked at me, I looked at him, and I just kind of protected myself run him over then the guy from behind me I had to get him off me.

"I didn't even know they were replaying that part. I thought they were replaying the out of bounds toward the end of the play. I was confused."

Reader Cory Huffman:
"It's my No. 2. After review they said his elbow touched...but the way the crowd reacted at PBS when he kept going...neat."

Voice of the Bearcats Dan Hoard: "He goes about 78 yards for what we thought at the time was the greatest run in the history of football."

Pead's No. 2: The Ankle-Breakaway

Louisville, 2011

ISAIAH PEAD: "I would go either Tennessee or Louisville, but because we won the Louisville one, I will have to go with that because of everything that was going on and I was bottled up the whole game. To finally just get it open, that was good....not to mention the pink socks and the gloves."

No. 23 describing the play: "I think it was more of get the monkey off your back because they had me contained. To breakaway and break (the safety), just to sprint for the finish and game-saving touchdown. Right here, you can just see all the emotion just coming out because it was a tough day until then.

On the conclusion: I look to the guy to the left, I had seen the guy to the right and just kind of timed the jump. It was perfect, people thought I was looking at the Jumbotron, but I just timed it.

Pead's No. 3: Straight Speed

Miami, 2010

ISAIAH PEAD: "Goinig 80 yards untouched. Just because I seen the cut and just took off. I seen the backside corner with a great angle and I just kept running and ended up outrunning his angle. Touchdown. Probably the fastest I had run on the field in a while."

No. 23 describing the play: "I had 10 carries and almost 200 yards in the first quarter or so. I didn't play in the second quarter, they took me out. It was definitely just a straightaway run."

(Play at :46 seconds)

The Fan's No. 1: The Stop And Go

Rutgers, 2009

ISAIAH PEAD: "This game was my first touchdown of my career. That touchdown itself was the second one. I was a young guy looking for the score."

No. 23 on the nasty move: "I seen him coming, but I didn't know what I wanted to do. I didn't know if I wanted to cut back, run past him or what. So I kind of just stopped. It's kind of blurry right now. I stopped, he fell and it worked out good."

Do people talk to you about that one?:
"Nah, that one's pretty much in the archives now."

Reader J.R. Snape:
"My favorite Isaiah Pead moment? Two years ago in the opener at Rutgers. IP is in full stride going towards the end zone, along the sideline, and he comes to a complete stop-then-go in order to make the defender miss him. I never remember seeing a UC runner do that before. It was amazing."

Reader Byron Martin:
"I think the biggest Pead play for me has to be the long, sideline screen pass during our 2009 Labor Day game at Rutgers. The stop move he put on, sending the RU safety out of bounds was unreal and it was a huge part of a beatdown that set the tone for our perfect season."

(Play at 2:10 mark)

Paul Dehner Jr. No. 1: Fourth-and-1

UConn, 2009

ISAIAH PEAD: "Oooh, I was watching that the other day. If I can remember on this play, because that was Kelly's years, that play was drawn to go outside, get as far outside as you can, make something happen. That is usually not a fourth-and-1 call, but he called it. You know, I got to make a guy miss. I wasn't going to cut it up, but he doesn't know that."

No. 23 on the story behind the story: "This is the game that Jacob Ramsey broke his foot, so I had to take the carries, they had just pulled Jake out because Jake was in on this play and they were just about to snap the ball and said, no, Pead, get in. I didn't even know the call. Zach told me the call and I was like, 'Oh, fourth-and-1, me? OK. You know, I just had to make a play. And it was a great block by Mardy (Gilyard) on the outside."

My analysis:
"Taking into account the enormity of that situation on fourth-and-1, with the way both teams were moving the ball at will up and down the field, UC had to have this for the win. They left Pead one-on-one on a the sweep. The move he put on the defender should be illegal in seven states including Puerto Rico. Watch closely, the guy goes straight to his knees. He buckles like a newborn calf and resorts to a crawl. One of the subtle moves that makes Pead so good in one of the biggest spots of his young career, attempting to preserve a perfect regular season."

Reader Alex Spidare:
"In regards to big play at a crucial time in a crucial game, you gotta go with Pead's 4th down touchdown rush in the waning moments on the UCONN game in 2009. Typical play by Pead. Anyone in that stadium would have been happy with 1 or 2 yards for the first down. Simply take a couple knees and win the game. Not Pead. He was determined to score. I was in the second row of the student section that night and had a good view of the play. It was huge and helped solidify a 12-0 campaign that year. I'm glad the entire country saw that play on ABC."

Paul Dehner Jr. No. 2: Air Pead

Rutgers, 2010

ISAIAH PEAD: "This was a similar play as to that UConn one, catch the edge. I couldn't tell you (what I was thinking). It was just adrenaline and I could have maybe lowered the shoulder but it got knocked out of bounds, I thought, no, I want to go up top."

My analysis: "For a guy who will always be remembered for his 'Wow' moments and incredible athleticism, this was one of the great combinations of both. Pead takes off from the 4-yard line. The freakin' 4. He lands at what would be three yards inside the end zone shifting into a Fonsbury Flop midway through with the state of mind to extend the ball back over the pylon. Just an athlete at his finest on so many levels."

(Play at :45 seconds)

Honorable Mention: The Leap

UConn, 2010

ISAIAH PEAD: "I thought it was going to the house. The guy who actually tackled me, he had pushed Armon Binns all the way out to the sideline and ran back in to make a tackle. So, I thought in the beginning that he came off the sideline. I was yelling at the ref, like, Yo, ref, what's going on?"

"It's got to be instinct, if you go in thinking you are going to hurdle somebody you are going to hurdle the wrong one and get slammed.

Ever hurdled and it backfired?: "Yeah, this year against South Florida, we were going in for the end zone it was one-on-one, a hurdle usually comes when they are too low. He looked like he was going to shoot low and he kind of jumped and caught me right in the, uh, private area. That wasn't too good."

(Play at :27 seconds)

Honorable Mention: Welcome to 2011

Austin Peay, First play of the 2011 season

ISAIAH PEAD: "It set a tone for me and for the team that we are coming to play football this year. It was the first play of the year, fresh out of camp, it was  big boost for all of us. It isn't talked about much, but the play before that was the kick return (Ralph David) Abernathy had to set up field position.

Do you think about taking the first play to the house?:
"As crazy as it sounds, yeah. We've got so much adrenaline going I just want to score. When it happened, I was like, wow, it happened. Then doing it again at Tennessee the next week, it started becoming a repetitive thing."

Honorable Mention: Still Going

West Virginia, 2011

ISAIAH PEAD: "Yeah, I felt like I was going to go out of bounds. That's why I had to cut it back. The guy was kind of walling off (Austen) Bujnoch, trying to get him to hit me out of bounds and I just said, well, forget it I am going to go inside of him."

When bottled up, thinking about just taking six or seven yards?: "I am thinking house. It's funny, I think every play should go for a touchdown. He had the arm on me and I break the tackle. The backer comes and I kind of had my arm in-between me and him, so it was just kind of pushing him off and make a play after that. Don't go out of bounds, that is what you are coached."

On his finishing dive: "Coach says we are not allowed to jump, but..."

Honorable Mention: The Slide

Louisville, 2009

ISAIAH PEAD: "I just had to roll with the punches.I fell, but I had to make it look good."

(Play at 3:15)

Honorable Mention: Statement Run

Tennessee, 2011

ISAIAH PEAD: "That was a good hit, he just didn't wrap. It's a footrace. The team was excited. That really ignited us.

"Going back watching that film, the game was so close, yet so far. The score made it look so far, but just the small details we were messing up."

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