No. 15/17 Bearcats Set to Host Louisville in Battle for the Keg of Nails Sellout crowd set to witness Homecoming matchup on ESPNU
Oct. 8, 2007
Game Notes in PDF Format STORY LINES Ranked No. 15 in the AP and No. 17 in this week's USA Today Coaches' Top 25 poll, Cincinnati plays Louisville in the annual battle for the Keg of Nails. One of the most unique rivalry trophies in college football, the Keg of Nails was initiated by fraternity chapters on the UC and UofL campuses, signifying that the winning players in the game were "tough as nails." The BIG EAST rivals are separated by 105 miles of I-71.
Boasting a 6-0 mark to start the season and a 7-0 record under head coach Brian Kelly, Cincinnati's nine-game win streak is the second-longest in the country. Beginning on Nov. 18, 2006 with a 30-11 win over then-No. 7 Rutgers, the win streak UC's longest since Sid Gillman's squad won 16 straight games over the 1953 and 1954 seasons.
The Bearcats have outscored their first six opponents 260-76. Scoring 43.3 points per game and yielding 12.7 points on average, Cincinnati is second in the BIG EAST in both categories. UC leads the country in turnover margin (+2.5 per contest).
SERIES NOTES Saturday night's game is set to be the 47th meeting between Cincinnati and Louisville. The Bearcats own a 26-19-1 (.576) lead in the series, which began in 1929, chiefly through winning the first 12 contests. Louisville ended the streak in 1970 with a 28-14 decision. The Cardinals have won eight of the last nine confrontations.
Louisville records indicate one more victory in the UC-UofL series. Louisville was scheduled to play Transylvania on Nov. 4, 1922 but the Lexington school canceled the week prior to the contest. Cincinnati was scheduled to play West Virginia on that date. Trying to help the Cardinals out of their plight, UC sent a "team of second-liners" to play Louisville. UofL defeated the UC reserves, 28-0. Since this was a game against outside competition, Louisville is correct in counting it in its records. But, since it is not a varsity game for UC, Cincinnati is correct in not recognizing it in its records.
UC LOOKING TO TAKE ANOTHER TROPHY IN BATTLE FOR THE KEG OF NAILS:
Dating back to the 2006 season, Cincinnati has won nine consecutive games and is listed at No. 15 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 17 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll. Cincinnati is 6-0 for the first time since the start of the 1954 campaign. One week after an inspiring 28-23 victory at No. 21 Rutgers, the Bearcats face rival Louisville (3-3, 0-1 BIG EAST) for Homecoming on Saturday at 7 p.m. on ESPNU.
VOTERS TAKE NOTICE:
Listed in the Associated Press rankings in for a third consecutive week for the first time since the 1954 season, this week the AP ranked Cincinnati No. 15. The last time UC was ranked as high as No. 15 or better, was on Nov. 1, 1954 when they came in at No. 13. Cincinnati received 578 votes from the coaches' poll to move to No. 17. UC tallied 705 votes in the AP poll.
SCOUTING THE CARDINALS:
After suffering a 44-35 setback against Utah its last time out, Louisville (3-3, 0-1 BIG EAST) travels to Nippert Stadium in possession of the Keg of Nails. In his fifth year as head coach and first leading the Cardinals, Steve Kragthorpe has guided Louisville to a 3-3 start that includes a loss to Syracuse in UofL's lone BIG EAST game. Kragthorpe guided Tulsa to three bowl games and inherited a Louisville roster that boasted 22 returning starters. Playing their third road tilt of the year, the Cardinals lost at Kentucky, 40-34 and defeated N.C. State, 29-10.
CONTINUING THEIR WINNING WAYS:
It may be a new season, but the Bearcats continue to ride the momentum created in the second half of the 2006 campaign. Dating back to the 30-11 win over then-No. 7 Rutgers on Nov. 18, 2006, the Bearcats have won nine games in-a-row. Owners of the second longest winning streak in the nations, going back to the 17-3 victory over Syracuse on Oct. 28, 2006, the Bearcats have won 11 of their last 12 contests.
With the 28-23 win at No. 21 Rutgers, Cincinnati claimed its ninth consecutive victory. The nine-game win streak is the longest in program history since UC won 16-straight over the 1953-54 seasons. That year, Sid Gillman's squad started the year victorious in eight games in-a-row and finished 8-2. Over the 1953-54 seasons, Gillman directed the Bearcats to 16-straight victories.
KELLY REMAINS UNBEATEN WITH BEARCATS:
Dating back to the 2007 International Bowl, Brian Kelly is 7-0 as head coach of the Bearcats and off to one of the fastest starts in Cincinnati history. Kelly is the first rookie mentor to start 7-0 at UC since Russ Cohen began his first season 7-0 in 1935.
AS A RANKED TEAM:
At No. 15/17, Cincinnati is among the Top 25 for the third straight week. Last week's 28-23 win at No. 21 Rutgers evened UC's record at 3-3-1 all-time as a ranked team.WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: With a reputation for defense, Cincinnati has added a potent offensive punch in 2007. The Bearcats have scored 260 points (43.3 per game), a number never attained before in the first six games of any season in school history. Cincinnati's propensity for points is more than halfway to surpassing its highest scoring output for a season of 409 points, which was accomplished over 14 games during the 2002 campaign.
BEARCATS CLAIM FIRST VICTORY IN A BIG EAST OPENER:
Cincinnati's trip to Rutgers Stadium resulted in its first win in three BIG EAST Conference openers. In its third season as a member of the BIG EAST, UC is 1-2 in BIG EAST openers. Both losses came at the hands of Pittsburgh.
READY IN THE RED ZONE:
For the year, Cincinnati has scored on 90 percent of its drives (27-of-30) inside the opposition's Red Zone, including 24 touchdowns. Defensively, UC has yielded scores on 67 percent of the opposition's scoring drives (10-of-15), but has allowed only four touchdowns inside the Red Zone.
Through the first half of the regular season, UC leads the nation with a giveaway/takeaway margin of +2.5 per game. The Bearcats have yielded five interceptions and five fumbles, but have created 25 turnovers (9 fumble recoveries, 16 interceptions).
TURNING DEFENSE INTO OFFENSE:
Taking advantage of the opponents' miscues, the Bearcats have scored 100 points off of opponents' turnovers through the first six games of the season.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Off to a 3-0 start at home in 2007, over the past four seasons, the Bearcats are 20-6 (.769) when playing at Nippert Stadium. They posted a 6-1 mark at home in 2006, including a 30-11 victory over then-No. 7 Rutgers, the highest ranked foe ever to fall at UC.
ON THIS DATE:
Cincinnati is 3-7 all-time when playing on Oct. 13. After dropping its first three games played on Oct. 13, the Bearcats defeated Louisville 38-0 on Oct. 13, 1951. The last time Cincinnati played on this date was Oct. 13, 2001, when UC won a Conference USA matchup 31-17 over UAB.
SWEAT IN THE WEIGHT ROOM ALREADY PAYING DIVIDENDS: Director of strength and conditioning Paul Longohas already proved himself a welcome addition to the Cincinnati athletics department. Given a mission by Brian Kelly when he came on board in January 2007, Longo has molded the Bearcats into a new team able to handle the rigors of the tempo and pace preached by the head football coach.
IT'S ACADEMIC: Cincinnati's football program was honored by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) as one of 32 teams in the NCAA Bowl Subdivision to graduate 70 percent or more of their student-athletes. The survey involved the freshman class from the academic year of 2001-02 UC was one of four BIG EAST teams to be honored.
Noted for his ingenious offensive schemes, Brian Kellyhas moved Cincinnati to a no-huddle offense that emphasizes stretching the field and finding openings to attack via the run or pass. After the 28-23 triumph at No. 21 Rutgers, UC is listed seventh nationally in scoring (43.3 points per game) and 27th in total offense (445.3 yards per game). The Bearcats employ three and four wide receivers and one back in a variety of formations and groupings.
Cincinnati's offense matches up with a Louisville defense that gave up 260 rushing yards and 582 yards of total offense in a 44-35 loss last week against Utah. Six games into the season, the Cardinals defense is listed 70th against the run (161.2 yards per game) and 99th in total defense (444.5 yards per game). The Cardinals defense returned 10 starters, led by Lamar Myles who has carded 66 tackles this season.
PENCHANT FOR POINTS:
Cincinnati has scored 260 points in its first six games, a number never reached in the first six games of any season in school history. In 1912 the Bearcats scored 217 points in the first six games, including a 124-0 romp of Transylvania in the season opener, but no team has matched the 43.3 points per game accomplished thus far by the 2007 Bearcats.
RUNNING THE SPREAD AND SPREADING THE RUN:
seeing the shotgun formation, fans expect to see the pigskin flying from all angles, but Cincinnati has shown an ability to run the football at a rate of 185.8 yards per game. UC has rushed for more than 200 yards in three of their first five contests. Cincinnati amassed 314 yards on the ground against Southeast Missouri State, 217 vs. Marshall and 263 at San Diego State.
LUCKY NUMBER 257:
Quarterback Ben Maukcompleted 20-of-37 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns in the victory at No. 21 Rutgers. Mauk matched his passing yardage output of 257 yards from the previous week at San Diego State. Mauk has thrown at least one touchdown in each game he has played and has multiple touchdowns in four of his five games played. In his last two outings vs. SDSU and Rutgers, Mauk has tossed seven touchdowns to just two interceptions.
MAUK ENJOYS CAREER DAY AT QUALCOMM STADIUM: Ben Mauk
fired four touchdowns, all in the second quarter on his way to earning BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week at San Diego State. He completed 17-of-23 pass attempts for 257 yards and an interception against the Aztecs. Mauk connected on touchdowns of 11, 4, 80 and 11 yards in the second frame to give Cincinnati a 35-10 lead at the half.
MAUK'S BIONIC ARM CONTINUES COMEBACK:
A graduate-transfer, Ben Maukcontinues to live his comeback season at Cincinnati. Twelve months after suffering a catastrophic arm injury, that required three screws in his shoulder and eight pins in his arm at Wake Forest, Mauk was the starting quarterback for UC in its first game of the 2007 season. The Kenton, OH product completed 18-of-27 in his debut for the Red and Black. One week later, he connected on 15-of-23 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns in the 34-3 victory over Oregon State. Mauk is seventh nationally with a passer rating of 167.91 and has completed 65.0 percent of his pass attempts. The season opener marked the third straight season in which Mauk handled his team's first snap from center. In both 2005 and 2006 he started the season opener for Wake Forest.
QUARTERBACKS ON THE READY:
Cincinnati has utilized three quarterbacks this season. The trio all saw action in the 40-14 victory over Marshall. Dustin Grutzagot the call to start and tossed a pair of touchdowns. Ben Mauk entered in the second quarter and finished 6-of-7 passing for 77 yards and a score. Tony Pike handled UC's final drive in his first action since Game 1.
GRUTZA PROVES READY TO START ONCE AGAIN:
After seeing no action in the first two games, signal caller Dustin Grutza received the call to start on short notice against Marshall. Minutes before kickoff, Grutza was given the order to start for the second week in-a-row. The junior completed 14-of-20 passes for 142 yards, including two touchdowns against the Herd. The previous week, Grutza completed 25-of-35 passes for a career-high 290 yards and two touchdowns at Miami (OH).
ENJOYING THE RED ZONE:
Cincinnati has been nearly perfect at scoring when penetrating the opposition's 20 yard line. UC scored on its first 12 drives inside their opponents' red zone before a missed field goal at Miami (OH) stopped the streak. Cincinnati has converted 27-of-30 red zone trips (90 percent) into points.
RUNNING BACK BY COMMITTEE:
The senior triumvirate of Butler Benton, Bradley Glatthaar and Greg Moore, have all eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark for their careers and are splitting the carries for the fourth and final year together. The group keyed a ground game that rushed for 263 yards at San Diego State. Sharing the load was evident at Miami (OH), where Glatthaar collected 43 yards, Benton rushed for 42 and Moore gained 41 of UC's 141 rushing yards.
BENTON LEADING THE GROUND GAME:
One of three senior running backs, Butler Benton is pacing the Bearcats' ground attack with 343 yards on 67 attempts. UC's active leader with 1,580 career rushing yards, Benton is averaging 5.1 yards per carry. His 12 carries for 101 yards vs. Southeast Missouri State is the Bearcats' lone 100-yard rushing performance of the year.
MOORE PROVIDES MORE:
The Bearcats' top rusher in 2006 with 709 yards, Greg Mooreis a threat as a rusher and receiver. UC's leading rusher in the last three games, Moore totaled 60 yards on 14 carries at Rutgers. He led the team with 12 carries for 84 yards at San Diego State. Moore paced UC with 70 yards against Marshall.
is the most efficient rusher in the running back rotation, totaling six touchdowns on 36 carries this year. Glatthaar's three-yard run at Rutgers moved him into a tie for seventh in the UC record books with the 19th rushing score of his career.
RAMSEY RUNS WILD:
Sophomore running back Jacob Ramsey provided the final blow with a 42-yard dash to pay dirt, in the 40-14 triumph over Marshall. Third on the team with 216 rushing yards, Ramsey is averaging 5.3 yards per carry.
PLENTY OF RECEIVING TARGETS:
Bearcats' quarterbacks sighted 10 different receivers in the season opener and have had four different players listed as the top target through six games. Fourteen different Bearcats have caught passes this year.
BEARCATS NOTCH third 100-YARD RECEIVER:
Junior Dominick Goodman snagged seven passes for 101 yards at San Diego State to become the third Bearcat to reach the century mark in receiving yards this season. In the season opener, Marshwan Gilyard totaled eight catches for 134 yards against Southeast Missouri State. Connor Barwin made six receptions for 109 yards at Miami (OH). Cincinnati listed two 100-yard receiving days during the 2006 season.
GOODMAN LEADS RECEIVERS:
The top receiver a year ago, Dominick Goodmanserves as the leader of a talented receiving corps. Goodman has 21 catches for 264 yards this season after finishing with 40 catches, including five for touchdown in 2006. The former prep quarterback has totaled three touchdowns over the last two games.
TIGHT END COMPETITION:
UC has three veterans vying for time at tight end. A converted wide receiver, Earnest Jacksonhas seven catches for 67 yards. Connor Barwinhas made 14 receptions for 196 yards. Doug Jonesscored on a five-yard run at Miami (OH) and has two receptions for 13 yards to his credit this season.
Boasting seven returning starters on one of the BIG EAST's top defensive units, the Bearcats are allowing 12.7 points per game, to rank No. 5 in the country in scoring defense. Topping the national board with 25 takeaways, the `Cats are listed 13th in rush defense (85.0 ypg), and 38th in total defense (340.2 ypg) through the first six games of 2007.
Cincinnati's defense faces a Louisville offense that is keyed by Heisman Trophy hopeful Brian Brohm. The Cardinals' quarterback has fired 20 touchdowns against just four interceptions. Brohm is completing 66.8 percent of his passes and averaging 402.5 yards per game through the air. Brohm is second in the nation in total offense at 402.2 yards per game. The tandem of Harry Douglas and Mario Urrutia are his top targets and are both sat out last week's game against Utah.Anthony Allen is averaging 5.7 yards per carry through six games and has six rushing scores. The Cardinals are listed second nationally in total offense (578.3 ypg), third in passing offense (405.7 ypg) and fifth in scoring offense (44.0 ppg).
Second in the BIG EAST and fifth nationally in scoring defense, the Bearcats have allowed 76 points (12.7 ppg) at the halfway point of the season. The last time Cincinnati allowed fewer than 76 points through its first six games of the season was the 1977 campaign. In 1977, UC used a pair of shutouts and gave up 53 points on its way to a 3-2-1 start.
BEARCAT SACK ATTACK:
Cincinnati is ranked 25th in the nation with 17 sacks for a 2.8 sacks per game average. Led by Terrill Byrd'stwo sacks, Cincinnati carded a season-high five quarterback sacks in the triumph at Miami (OH). The five quarterback sacks were the most by UC since it notched five on Oct. 29, 2005 in a 22-16 win at Syracuse.
STUFFING THE GROUND GAME:
Cincinnati proved its good against the top rushing offenses in the county by holding Rutgers to 98 yards on 43 attempts for a 2.3 yards per carry average. Yielding 85.0 rushing yards per game, UC has allowed only one foe to surpass the century mark when Southeast Missouri State tallied 175 yards on the ground in the season opener. Over the last five games, UC has yielded an average of 67.0 rushing yards per game.
MICKENS IS AROUND THE FOOTBALL:
Heralded cornerback Mike Mickens snatched an interception and also recovered a fumble in the first quarter of Cincinnati's 40-14 victory over Marshall. Mickens leads the Bearcats with five turnovers created this season. The junior started his season with two interceptions and six tackles in the victory over Southeast Missouri State. Mickens' first pick off stopped a drive in the end zone; he stepped in front of a pass and returned the second interception 45 yards for a touchdown. He added his third interception at Miami (OH). The two-time all-BIG EAST performer has finished each of his first two seasons in the top 10 nationally in passes defended.
STOPPING ANOTHER HEISMAN HOPEFUL:
Cincinnati has stopped a pair of preseason Heisman Trophy hopefuls this season. The Bearcats limited Rutgers' Ray Rice to 94 yards on 34 carries for a 2.8 yards per carry average. Rice's longest run of the night went for 10 yards. Oregon State's Yvenson Bernard found little running room against the Cincinnati defense. UC held the 2006 all-Pac-10 running back to 30 yards on 16 carries and 17 yards on seven receptions to quickly put a halt to the hype.
SMITH MAKING A NAME FOR HIMSELF:
In his first year as a starter, cornerback DeAngelo Smithhas had no trouble making a name for himself. Smith is tied for second on the team with three pickoffs. Smith returned an interception 54 yards for a touchdown at Miami (OH). Tied for 55th in the country with seven passes defended (3 interceptions, 4 pass breakups).
BEARCATS RECORD SIX PICKOFFS:
The Cincinnati defense collected six interceptions, the second-highest single-game total in UC history during the 34-3 victory over Oregon State. The last time the Bearcats tallied six interceptions in a game came in a 35-13 loss to North Texas State on Nov. 5, 1966
NAKAMURA PACKS A PUNCH:
The leader of the secondary, Haruki Nakamura leads the team with 37 tackles (17 solo, 20 assists). Nakamura totaled six tackles and two interceptions in the victory over Oregon State. The senior safety paced Cincinnati with eight tackles (2 solo, 6 assists) and a forced fumble vs. Southeast Missouri State. The Bearcats' active leader with 182 career stops, Nakamura paced the team with 76 tackles during the 2005 campaign.
SENIORS BOOKEND DEFENSIVE FRONT:
The duo of senior defensive ends Angelo Craigand Anthony Hokeprovide a steady presence for the Bearcats defensive front. In his first year as a full-time starter, Craig has 20 tackles to his credit. The Cleveland native has 14 tackles for loss and five sacks in his career. Hoke leads the squad with 6.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. The Warren, OH product has tallied 13 career sacks. He joined UC's top 10 list with a sack at Rutgers.
Having to sit out the first game of the season, junior defensive tackle Terrill Byrd has responded with 5.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 quarterback sacks. In his first action of the season, he totaled three tackles, including one for loss against Oregon State. One week later, Byrd tallied two sacks at Miami (OH). He totaled five tackles, including 2.5 for loss in the victory over Marshall. The 2004 Gatorade National High School Defensive Player of the Year, Byrd is a returning first-team all-BIG EAST performer.
Special teams have already played a large role this season in the Bearcats' success. Three first-year starters junior punter and holder Kevin Huber, redshirt freshman long snapper Mike Windtand redshirt freshman kicker Jake Rogersare making names for themselves as specialists.
HUBER AMONG THE NATION'S ELITE:
Junior Kevin Huberentered the season with seven career punts for a 38.1 average, but has shown to be one of the best in the country in the early going. Huber is averaging 50.1 yards on 21 punts this season. Huber boomed a career-long 62-yard punt at Miami (OH) and then kicked two 62-yarders in the victory over Marshall. Not only kicking long, Huber has notched 10 punts inside the opposition's 20 and three have been downed on the opposition's 1.
HUBER SETS RECORD DAY:
Behind a pair of 62-yard punts, Kevin Huberestablished a Cincinnati single-game record with a 59.7 yard per punt average on three kicks against Marshall.
ROGERS REBOUNDS AFTER SHAKY START:
Redshirt freshman Jake Rogersrebounded from his shaky start to convert field goals of 38 and 55 yards in the 34-3 victory over Oregon State. One week after converting 1-of-3 PAT kicks and missing a 47-yard field goal, his 55-yarder was the second-longest field goal in UC history. Rogers is currently 5-of-9 on field goals and 27-of-29 on PAT kicks. He has converted 26 consecutive PATs.
who averaged 25.8 yards per return is back for another year as the deep kickoff return man. DeAngelo Smith, who averaged 20.2 yards on four kickoff returns last season, is also ready to return kickoffs. An experienced kickoff and punt returner, Mike Daniels is an able reserve. Daniels is seventh on UC's all-time list in kickoff returns (40) and eighth in kickoff return yardage (777).
NEW NAMES IN RETURN GAME:
Sophomore Jacob Ramseyhas been the Bearcat top returner early this season. Ramsey has returned 13 kickoffs for 303 yards, a 23.3 yards per return average. Ramsey saw limited action on kickoff coverage a year ago. Dominick Goodman has seven returns for 148 yards (21.1 yards per return) to his credit this season. Marshwan Gilyardaveraged 22.0 yards on eight kickoff returns in 2005 and has one return for 19 yards this season.
NAKAMURA PROVIDES STEADY HANDS ON PUNT RETURNS:
Not known for owning breakaway speed, Haruki Nakamura has carded 55 yards on seven punt returns. Nakamura registered a career-long 24-yard return at Ruters. He totaled five punt returns for 2.8 yards per return a year ago.
BLOCK THAT KICK, AGAIN!
One week after Cincinnati's Marshwan Gilyardcontributed a blocked punt against Oregon State, Gilyard repeated the feat at Miami (OH). Against Oregon State, Gilyard's block was recovered in the end zone by Marcus Barnett. For the Bearcats, it was the first punt blocked and returned for touchdown since Antwuan Giddensaccomplished the feat against Marshall in the 2004 Fort Worth Bowl. Against Miami (OH), the Bearcats' 2006 scout team special teams player of the year's block went through the end zone for a safety.