Oct. 15, 2011
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CINCINNATI – The University of Cincinnati (5-1, 1-0 BIG EAST) beat the Louisville Cardinals (2-4, 0-1 BIG EAST), 25-16, on Saturday afternoon at Paul Brown Stadium to win the Battle for the Keg of Nails for the fourth-straight year. It was a career-high day for senior defensive lineman Derek Wolfe, who had a career-best in tackles (11) and tackles for loss (2.5) in front of 40,971 fans for homecoming weekend – the third largest home crowd in UC history.
The windy field conditions provided a battle of its own for senior quarterback Zach Collaros, who went 18-of-26 for 152 yards and relied heavily on senior running back Isaiah Pead, who finished with 20 carries for 153 yards – his eighth career 100-plus rushing game. Collaros pitched in an additional 22 yards on 13 rushes.
The UC offense got off to a slow start, but the defense managed to hold the Cardinals to two field goals to make the score 6-0 after the first 15 minutes.
After a scoreless 10 minutes to start the second quarter, UC forced Louisville to a three-and-out on its own seven-yard line. The Bearcats got the ball back in UofL’s territory, where it began its first productive drive of the afternoon – a four-play, 37-yard scoring drive capped with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Woods to give the Bearcats the 7-6 lead with five minutes left in the half.
The Woods’ touchdown seemed to spark an offensive surge on Louisville as well, as quarterback Teddy Bridgewater launched a 58-yarder to wide receiver Eli Rogers on its ensuing possession. However, the Bearcats made a goal line stand and held the Cardinals to a 18-yard field goal to make the score 9-6 with 2:54 remaining.
With just 18 seconds remaining in the half, the Cardinals picked off a Collaros pass and ran it back 63 yards to extend their lead at halftime, 16-7.
Louisville got the ball to start the second half, but an interception by senior defensive back Dominique Battle cut the drive short. Despite the momentum swing, the Bearcats were unable to take advantage of the turnover and they were forced to punt it away.
Following a scoreless Cardinals possession, Cincinnati’s offense began clicking on all cylinders as they marched 53 yards down the field to UofL’s one-yard line. Faced with a fourth-and-goal situation, Collaros ran it for the touchdown to pull within two of the guests, 16-14, after three.
Cincinnati wasted no time adding points, this time in way of Pead, who ran 50 yards to the endzone to make it his sixth-straight game with a rushing touchdown. Following the 16-second drive, senior tight end Adrien Robinson caught a two-point conversion pass to make it, 22-16, with 12:13 remaining.
Freshman kicker Tony Miliano tacked on an 21-yard field goal in the final minutes to make the final score 25-16.
The Bearcats will travel to USF for a noon match-up next Saturday, Oct. 22 before returning to Paul Brown Stadium for its next home game against West Virginia on Saturday, Nov. 12