The Bearcats' (6-2 overall, 1-2 BIG EAST) look to return to the win column when they face USF. The meeting with the Bulls is the first of four consecutive BIG EAST tilts to close the 2007 regular season.
A matchup of two opportunistic defenses, Cincinnati is tied for second nationally with 26 takeaways. South Florida is listed fourth in the category with 25.
The Bearcats outscored their first eight foes 301-128. Getting off to a fast start has been a key to the Bearcats' success. They have outscored their opponents 75-22 in the first quarter this season. Averaging 37.6 points per game, Cincinnati is 13th in the country and second in the BIG EAST in scoring offense.
Coming off of its lone open date in the 2007 schedule, dating back to 2000, Cincinnati owns a 6-4 record after an idle week.
HEADING SOUTH WITH SIGHTS SET ON USF: Cincinnati travels to Tampa after back-to-back setbacks and an idle week. Heading to USF with four BIG EAST games remaining, the Bearcats (6-2 overall, 1-2 in BIG EAST) are looking to right their ship at Raymond James Stadium where they have yet to find victory in two previous trips.
VOTERS TAKE NOTICE:
Receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll for a seventh consecutive week, Cincinnati finds itself outside of the Top 25. After enjoying its longest period as a nationally ranked team in the program's history, this week, Cincinnati received eight votes from the USA Today Coaches' Poll.
SCOUTING THE BULLS:
After suffering consecutive losses to Rutgers and Connecticut, USF (6-2, 1-2 BIG EAST) hosts Cincinnati on its Homecoming. The lone leader of the Bulls, in his 11th season at the reins, Jim Leavitt owns a 76-44 record. Winners of their first six games of 2007, the Bulls return home after consecutive road losses.
RETURNING TO THEIR WINNING FORM:
The Bearcats hope to return to the win column after the idle week. Cincinnati dropped back-to-back decisions for the first time since losing three in-a-row (33-15 vs. Pitt, 37-7 at Ohio State and 29-13 at Virginia Tech) during the 2006 campaign.
KELLY BOASTS IMPRESSIVE RECORD WITH BEARCATS:
Dating back to the 2007 International Bowl, Brian Kelly is 7-2 as head coach of the Bearcats. The only first-year coach to ever start his tenure 7-0 at UC, Kelly has an idle week to prepare his team.
KELLY AMONG THE NATION'S ELITE COACHES:
People in Cincinnati know Brian Kelly is an excellent football coach, but do they know he is one of the winningest active coaches in Division I Bowl Subclassification? Utilizing winning percentage, Kelly is listed 11th among active coaches with a minimum of five full years experience.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES:
With a reputation for defense, Cincinnati has added a potent offensive punch in 2007. The Bearcats have scored 301 points (37.6 per game), a number never attained before in the first eight games of any season in school history. Cincinnati's propensity for points is almost 75 percent of the way to eclipsing its highest scoring output for a season of 409 points, which was accomplished over 14 games during the 2002 campaign.
UC is ninth nationally with a giveaway/takeaway margin of +1.13 per game. The Bearcats have yielded eight interceptions and nine fumbles, but have created 26 turnovers (9 fumble recoveries, 17 interceptions).
TURNING DEFENSE INTO OFFENSE:
Taking advantage of the opponents' miscues, the Bearcats have scored 100 points off of opponents' turnovers.
READY IN THE RED ZONE:
For the year, Cincinnati has scored on 89.2 percent of its drives (33-of-37) inside the opposition's Red Zone, including 28 touchdowns. Defensively, UC has yielded scores on 72 percent of the opposition's scoring drives (18-of-25), but has allowed only 10 touchdowns inside the Red Zone.
AGAINST RATED OPPONENTS:
Facing a ranked team on the road for the second time this season, Cincinnati owns a 6-60 all-time record against Top 25 opponents. Victorious in its last two contests against Top 25 competition, earlier this season UC defeated No. 21 Rutgers 28-23 in Piscataway, N.J. The win improved the Bearcats' record to 3-42 against ranked opponents away from Nippert Stadium.
AS A RANKED TEAM:
Outside of the Top 25 after spending four straight weeks among the country's Top 25 earlier in the season. Cincinnati's 24-17 loss at Pittsburgh moved its record to 3-5-1 all-time as a ranked team.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME:
Off to a 3-1 start at home in 2007, over the past four seasons, the Bearcats are 20-7 (.741) when playing at Nippert Stadium. They posted a 6-1 mark at home in 2006.
ON THIS DATE:
Cincinnati is 7-5 all-time when playing on Nov. 3. UC won five of its first six contests on Nov. 3. Cincinnati is 0-2 when playing against ranked foes on Nov. 3. In 1979, Cincinnati lost at No. 6 Florida State, 26-21. In 1990, UC dropped a 41-25 decision to No. 25 Louisville. The last time Cincinnati played on this date was Nov. 3, 2001 when UC defeated Connecticut, 45-28.
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.
SCOUTING REPORT: 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. UC is listed 13th nationally in scoring (37.6 points per game) and 25th in total offense (436.3 yards per game). The Bearcats employ three and four wide receivers and one back in a variety of formations and personnel groupings.
Cincinnati's offense matches up with a USF defense that gave up 159 rushing yards and 353 yards of total offense in a 22-15 loss last week at Connecticut. Eight games into the season, the Bulls defense is listed 19th against the pass (186.5 yards per game) and 18th in total defense (307.4 yards per game). The Bulls defense is led by Tyrone McKenzie and Ben Moffitt who shared the team lead with 71 tackles.
PENCHANT FOR POINTS:
Cincinnati has scored 301 points, a number never reached in the first eight games of any season in school history. No team has matched the 37.6 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 171.5 yards per game. UC has rushed for more than 200 yards in three contests this season. Cincinnati amassed 314 yards on the ground against Southeast Missouri State, 217 vs. Marshall and 263 at San Diego State.
55-yard rush on Cincinnati's first play from scrimmage against Pittsburgh was not only his longest rush of the season, but also the longest run of his collegiate career. Counting his opening scamper, Mauk totaled 94 yards on 10 carries at Heinz Field. Earlier in the season, Mauk carded 18-yard scampers against Marshall and at San Diego State. His previous career-long rush went for 27 yards, on Nov. 27, 2004, in a 13-7 victory for Wake Forest over Maryland.
MAUK SHOWS HIS MOXIE AGAINST CARDINALS:
Quarterback Ben Maukenjoyed another banner day, completing 26-of-45 passes for 324 yards and three touchdowns, in the loss to Louisville. Mauk established new career highs in attempts, completions and yardage in the 28-24 loss. At Pitt, he had his string of at least one touchdown pass in each game he has played snapped at six games. In his last four outings, Mauk has tossed 10 touchdowns against four interceptions.
MAUK'S SECOND QUARTER 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.
THE 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 is 15th nationally with a passer rating of 152.82 and has completed 63.4 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.
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 33-of-37 red zone trips (89.2 percent) into points.
The owner of Cincinnati's longest play of the season, an 80-yard touchdown catch at San Diego State, Marcus Barnettis keying the Bearcats receiving corps. After sitting out the 2006 season as a redshirt, Barnett is leading the Bearcats with 496 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches. His eight touchdown catches are the most ever tallied by a first-year player at UC. Tops on the team in scoring with nine trips to the end zone, the wideout, from Upper Marlboro, Md. is second on the team with 36 receptions.
GOODMAN LEADS RECEIVERS:
UC's top target a year ago, Dominick Goodmanleads a talented receiving corps. Goodman has a team-high 37 catches for 449 yards this season after finishing with 40 catches.
GOODMAN SURPASSES 1,000 RECEIVING YARDS:
With his career-highs of 11 catches for 141 yards against Louisville, Dominick Goodman eclipsed the 1,000 receiver yards mark for his career. Goodman used now has 1,020 career receiving yards and is tied for ninth in the UC record book with 11 career touchdown catches.
TIGHT END COMPETITION:
UC has three veterans vying for time at tight end. A converted wide receiver, Earnest Jacksonhas nine catches for 82 yards. Connor Barwinhas made 16 receptions for 208 yards. Doug Jonesscored his second rushing touchdown of the year at Pitt on a three-yard plunge and has three receptions for 21 yards to his credit this season.
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.
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 236 rushing yards, Ramsey is averaging 5.1 yards per carry.
BENTON LEADING THE GROUND GAME:
One of three senior running backs, Butler Benton is pacing the Bearcats' ground attack with 434 yards on 89 attempts. UC's active leader with 1,671 career rushing yards, Benton is averaging 4.9 yards per carry. His 12 carries for 101 yards vs. Southeast Missouri State marks 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 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 38 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.
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 seven games. Fifteen different Bearcats have caught passes this year.
Boasting seven returning starters on one of the BIG EAST's top defensive units, the Bearcats are allowing 16.0 points per game, to rank No. 8 in the country in scoring defense. Tied for second nationally with 26 takeaways, the `Cats are listed 20th against the run (108.4 ypg), and 52nd in total defense (364.4 ypg).
Cincinnati's defense must contend with USF quarterback Matt Grothe. The talented sophomore leads both the Bulls ground and aerial attacks. Grothe has amassed 550 yards and six touchdowns rushing to go with 1,557 yards and eight scores through the air. Receiving threats Taurus Johnson, Jessie Hester and Amari Jackson all average better than 11 yards per catch. The Bulls are listed 31st in the country in rushing offense (181.1 ypg) and 54th in total offense (395.4 ypg).
Third in the BIG EAST and 10th nationally in scoring defense, the Bearcats have allowed 128 points (16.0 ppg) this season. The last time Cincinnati allowed fewer than 128 points through its first eight games of the season was the 1977 campaign. In 1977, UC used three shutouts and gave up 101 points on its way to a 5-2-1 start.
BEARCAT SACK ATTACK:
Cincinnati is ranked 27th in the nation with 22 sacks for a 2.75 sacks per game average. Terrill Byrd, Angelo Craigand Anthony Hokelisted one sack each against Louisville. Led by Terrill Byrd's two 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 108.4 rushing yards per game, UC has allowed two opponents to surpass the century mark when Southeast Missouri State tallied 175 yards and Pittsburgh rushed for 260.
MICKENS IS AROUND THE FOOTBALL:
Heralded cornerback Mike Mickenssnatched 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 TWO HEISMAN HOPEFULS:
Cincinnati has stopped a pair of preseason Heisman Trophy hopeful running backs. 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 put a halt to the hype.
UC TOUGH IN THE RED ZONE:
No pushover on defense, Cincinnati has allowed only 72.0 of opponents' drives (18-of-25) inside its own 20 yard line to result in scores. UC has given up 10 touchdowns on 25 drives inside their own Red Zone.
In his first year as a starter, cornerback DeAngelo Smithhas had no trouble making a name for himself. Smith is tied for the team lead with four pickoffs. He returned an interception 54 yards for a touchdown at Miami (OH). One ahead of fellow cornerback Mike Mickens for the team lead with nine passes defended, Smith is listed in a tie for 49th nationally in the category.
Tops on the team with 53 tackles, Corey Smith continues to chase down ballcarriers from his outside linebacker spot. A three-year starter for Cincinnati, Smith has registered 21 solo tackles and 32 assists. Second among active Bearcats, the Salem, N.J. native has 177 career stops.
NAKAMURA PACKS A PUNCH:
The leader of the secondary, Haruki Nakamura is second on the team lead with 50 tackles (24 solo, 26 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 195 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 26 tackles to his credit. The Cleveland native has 16 tackles for loss and seven sacks in his career. Hoke leads the squad with 7.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. The Warren, OH product has tallied 14 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 8.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 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 SECOND IN THE NATION:
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 46.7 yards on 32 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 13 punts inside the opposition's 20 and four 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 7-of-12 on field goals and 32-of-34 on PAT kicks. He has converted 31 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 16 kickoffs for 351 yards, a 21.9 yards per return average. Ramsey saw limited action on kickoff coverage a year ago. Dominick Goodman has 12 returns for 244 yards (20.3 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 65 yards on 10 punt returns. Nakamura registered a career-long 24-yard return at Rutgers. 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.