Nov. 10, 2008
Mardy Gilyard (Bunnell, Fla./Flagler Palm Coast) and Aaron Webster (Southfield, Mich./Birmingham Groves) were named BIG EAST Players of the Week for the week ending Nov. 9, the league office announced Monday.
No. 22 Cincinnati (7-2, 3-1 BIG EAST) knocked off No. 20/23 West Virginia, 26-23 in overtime, Saturday in Morgantown, W.Va., earning the No. 22 spot in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls. UC is in a three-way tie for first place in the BIG EAST standings with Pittsburgh and West Virginia.
Gilyard ran the opening kickoff of the game back 100 yards for a touchdown, tying him with Walter Heuck (vs. Denison, 1910) for the longest in school history. It is the 13th 100-yard touchdown return in BIG EAST history and the first since Louisville's Trent Guy ran one back 100 yards on Sept. 15, 2007 against Kentucky.
It is Gilyard's second kick-off return for a touchdown this season, setting a UC record. He returned a kickoff 97 yards against Oklahoma on Sept. 4. Gilyard has the two longest kickoff returns of the season in the BIG EAST. He is the eighth league player to return two kicks for touchdowns in the same season. He is now tied with Mel Riggins (1970-71) for the UC career lead with two kickoff return touchdowns.
Webster, a strong safety, tallied a career-best 13 tackles, the most for any UC defender this season, including two tackles for a loss. The Bearcats held West Virginia to 98 yards rushing in the game, becoming the first team since Virginia Tech on Oct. 6, 2001 to hold the Mountaineers under 100 yards on the ground in a game.
Quarterback Tony Pike (Cincinnati, Ohio/Reading) earned a spot on the conference's weekly honor roll after completing 16 of 30 passes for 178 yards and the game-winning 2-yard touchdown to Kazeem Alli (St. Louis, Mo./Hazelwood Central) in overtime. Pike also added a two-yard touchdown run.
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.