Bearcats Notch 30-13 Victory Over Syracuse|
Nov. 26, 2011
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - University of Cincinnati senior running back Isaiah Pead (Columbus, Ohio/Eastmoor Academy) had 246 all-purpose yards and a pair of touchdowns to help lead Cincinnati to a 30-13 win over Syracuse, Saturday in the Carrier Dome.
The win, which snapped a two-game losing streak for the Bearcats, kept the team’s hopes for a third BIG EAST Conference title in four years very much alive. With a win next Saturday over Connecticut in Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati (8-3, 4-2 BIG EAST) would clinch a share of the conference crown.
It was the fourth straight loss for Syracuse (5-6, 1-5 Big East), which needs to win at Pittsburgh next week to become eligible for the postseason.
“This was a great team win,” head coach Butch Jones said. I keep saying that about our perseverance and resiliency. Our efforts as a football team were great.”
Pead finished with a career-best nine catches for a career high 112 yards, 80 yards rushing, and a pair of punt returns, the first of his career, for 54 yards. He had a 24-yard rushing touchdown on the first offensive play of the third quarter and also scored on a 69-yard strike from sophomore quarterback Munchie Legaux (New Orleans, La./Edna Karr).
Pead cracked the 1,000-yard mark for the second-straight season, becoming the first Cincinnati back to do so in 25 years. He also became just the third UC player to eclipse 3,000-career rushing yards.
“Obviously, I can’t say enough about the performance by number 23, Isaiah Pead,” Jones said. “We talked about being able to distribute the ball and he stepped up like big-time players do.”
Legaux, making his second collegiate start in place of an injured Zach Collaros (Steubenville, Ohio/Steubenville), teamed with fellow sophomore QB Jordan Luallen (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove/Georgia Tech) to keep the Orange defense off balance.
“Munchie Legaux managed the offense and did a great job making some plays,” Jones said. Jordan Luallen gave us a spark. I thought our special teams were outstanding. We were able to flip field position. Look at Patrick O’Donnel l and how he was able to flip the field. Tony Miliano made some big kicks. Isaiah (Pead) sparked us as a punt returner, as well.”
Legaux finished 13-of-22 for 169 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Luallen ran the ball eight times for 77 yards, a 9.6 yards per carry average, which included a 48-yard scamper that put the Bearcats on the 1-yard line.
Collaros is out for the remainder of the regular season due to an ankle injury suffered against West Virginia.
SU’s Ryan Nassib was 19 of 38 for 203 yards passing with one touchdown and interception for Syracuse. Antwon Bailey had 27 carries for 135 yards and Nick Provo had a 13-yard touchdown catch late in the third quarter to pull Syracuse within 23-13.
Syracuse was unable to gain any kind of field advantage the entire game, starting no better than its own 26. The Bearcats did, though, and none better than on the second-half kickoff.
“Defensively, we bent a little bit, but we did not break,” Jones said. “We got off the field when we needed to. We were a little bit better in third-down conversions. Defensively we were 4-for-15, which is a marked improvement from last week. I’m very proud of our kids, our players and the performance of Isaiah Pead.”
Freshman Ralph David Abernathy IV (Atlanta, Ga./Westminster School) returned the kick 71 yards, failing to beat the only defender left between him and the end zone as kicker Ross Krautman made a saving tackle at the Orange 24. It went for naught when Pead scored on the next play for a 17-6 lead.
Another freshman, kicker Tony Miliano (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) connected on field goals of 27, 22 and a career-long tying 48 yards while punter Pat O’Donnell played a key role with four punts for an average of 54.0 yards per kick. He dropped three balls inside the 20-yard line with only one touchback and had a long kick of 61 yards.