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Cliff's Notes: Miami (OH) at UC

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For those who haven't been paying close enough attention this week, I don't condone it, but here is a helpful cheat sheet so you can be an informed fan heading into Saturday's game against Miami.

Where: Nippert Stadium, (turf, outdoors)

When: Saturday, 7 p.m., FoxSportsOhio

Forecast: Temperature in 50s at kickoff, dipping into the 40s with 40 percent chance of rain

2012 records: Bearcats 3-0, 1-0 Big East, RedHawks 3-2, 1-0 MAC

Tickets: The game is sold out.

What to wear: If you are going, wear white. It's a whiteout. About 600 white shirts will provided for the student section.
  
Bell.jpgPast results: UC has won six in a row entering this 117th edition of the Battle for the Victory Bell. They won last season 27-0 in Oxford.

Need to know: Somebody call the school nurse, the RedHawks can't stop the bleeding. Miami's defense enters ranked 117th out of 120 FBS schools and allowed 49 points to dadgum Akron last week. They've struggled to apply pressure to the QB (T-103rd in sacks) and stop the run (108th). Not a great combination. Munchie Legaux and the Bearcats offense hopes to pad the stats entering the game with the momentum of the one-minute drill victory against Virginia Tech.

Who to know: Miami QB Zac Dysert. You should know him by now, though. He's been starting since his freshmen year and enters his fourth contest against the Bearcats. Has anybody thrown more passes in this rivalry than Dysert? After Saturday, that will be hard to imagine. Miami's success rests on his right arm. Last week he became the first QB in college football history to throw for 500 yards and rush for 100. The Bearcats feel their pass rush and experienced secondary are a strength -- we will see exactly how strong they are Saturday night.

Defining matchup: Miami WR Andy Cruse vs. UC DB Cam Cheatham. This won't necessarily be Cheatham all day, but he'll see a fair amount of Cruse along with Deven Drane. He's Dysert's most frequent target through the air. The senior caught at least eight passes in three of the first five games. When in doubt, target Cruse. If UC can shut down the first throw and force Dysert into progressions that will leave a uncomfortable scenario of searching for secondary receivers while Walter Stewart attempts to #GetTheDub. 

As CBJ points out, however, stopping Dysert won't completely be about blanketing Cruse.

"He's playing exceptionally well," Jones said. "He catches the football, gets in and out of breaks; he can win in transition and plays very strong. It will be a challenge and the quarterback at Miami Zac Dysert, has a number of weapons he can throw the football to, so again, we can't just zero in on an individual. They do a great job with their empty sets, of really spreading our players out and creating some mismatches."

Injuries of note: Drew Frey has been banged up and missed the second half of the Virginia Tech game with a sprained neck but is expected to return according to Butch Jones.

Delving deeper: Playing the MAC this year hasn't been the walk in the park of recent years. In fact, six MAC teams have beaten AQ programs this year.

Central Michigan 32, Iowa 31
Western Michigan 30, UConn 24
Northern Illinois 30, Kansas 23
Ball St. 31, USF 27
Ball St. 41, Indiana 39
Ohio 24, Penn St. 14

Actually, despite a small sample size, the MAC actually leads the season series over the Big East 2-1.

Why has #MACtion been so tough to stop this year? Former Central Michigan coach CBJ employs a solid theory:

"Looking at some of the great quarterbacks right now and I'm being told they could have upwards of four quarterbacks drafted in the National Football League," Jones said. "Everyone wants to say when I walked in the door here from Central Michigan to Cincinnati. There were seven kids my last year at Central Michigan that are starting in the National Football League and one of those guys is the premier player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Antonio Brown. I just think the level of competition that they play definitely has our respect and it's going to take everything we have to win this football game on Saturday."

Connections: Miami head coach Don Treadwell comes with a Bearcats background. He was the UC offensive coordinator from 2004-06 as well as the WR coach in 1994.

By the numbers: Over the last nine quarters of the Victory Bell rivalry, UC hasn't allowed a touchdown. In fact, during that span they've outscored Miami 86-3.

By the numbers, Part II: The UC defense opened games strong this year. It has only allowed one touchdown through the first three quarters of games. And that came by virtue of Virginia Tech only needing 13 yards for a touchdown drive following an interception.

Quotent Quotables: Maalik Bomar on if they feel they need to prove to critics they deserve to be discussed among the top defenses in the conference:

"People may think that. But it is something we don't think about. We look at it as another opportunity to come back and play ball again. Not just play ball, have fun out there and entertain."


Looking ahead: Jones won't allow UC to look ahead, but there's not rule bloggers can't. Winning this week then taking heavily favored games against Fordham and at Toledo would set up a showdown Oct. 26 on ESPN at Louisville. 

Hype video: Another strong effort from VideoShane. With plenty of dramatic bell ringing.


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