Nov. 9, 2008
On the heels of its 26-23 upset win in overtime over No. 20/23 West Virginia Saturday night in Morgantown, W.Va., the University of Cincinnati football team has moved into the national rankings, earning the No. 22 spot in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls.
The Bearcats (7-2, 3-1 BIG EAST) had been receiving votes in both polls entering last week. UC ended the 2007 season ranked No. 17 in the AP poll and No. 20 in the USA Today Coaches poll. UC achieved its highest-ever in-season ranking on Nov. 1, 1954 when the pollsters ranked the Bearcats No. 13 in the AP poll. Cincinnati's top ranking in the USA Today Coaches poll came when it reached No. 17 on Oct. 7, 2007.
UC got a strong performance from its defense which held West Virginia to 98 yards rushing in the game, becoming the first team since Virginia Tech on Oct. 5, 2001 to hold the Mountaineers under 100 yards in a game. Safety Aaron Webster had a career-best 13 tackles.
Tony Pike found Kazeem Alli on two-yard touchdown pass in overtime to give the Bearcats their second-straight win over a ranked team. UC beat then No. 24/23 USF 24-10 on Oct. 30 in Nippert Stadium.
The Pike to Alli touchdown has been selected as one of four Pontiac Game Changing Performances of the week. Fans can visit www.pontiac.com/ncaa to vote and help UC earn a $5,000 contribution to its general scholarship fund.
The Bearcats return to the field Friday, playing their second-straight BIG EAST road game, taking on Louisville in the 48th battle for the Keg of Nails at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. in game that will be televised by ESPN2.
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.