Record: 9-3, 5-2. Big East Champions
Coach: Butch Jones, 13-11
Bowl Record: 6-6
Vs Vanderbilt: 3-4
QB: Zach Collaros has made the recovery from his ankle injury and will start. He was 154-243, 1,860 yards, 14 TDs and 8 INTs. He was the second leading rusher for UC with 242 yards adn 8 TDs. Obviously a huge part of his game is making things happen with his legs. The huge question is how he handles the rush. Before he got hurt, UC relied on the Collaros run quite a bit. We hear he's 100%, but a part of you still has to worry. Throw in the fact he hasn't played in 6 weeks and rust could be an issue. Zombie is a good QB so I'm not really worried. He should have a nice game. If something does happen to him, or maybe to switch things up, Munchie Legaux has been solid. He was 55-116, 749 yards, 5 TDs, 4 INTs. He's the third leading rusher on the team with 185 yards and 2 scores. Yeah, both of those are 3rd. Jordan Luallen could run the wildcat. He is 5th on the team with 135 rushing yards and 1 score.
RB: Isaiah Pead had 1,110 yards and 11 TDs in the regular season. He's a dynamic offensive player. He was the Big East Offensive Player of the Year. He was the UC MVP. He is Paul Dehner Jr's favorite athlete of all time. Pead ran for 5.3 yards a carry during the regular season. He caught 36 passes for 304 yards and 3 TDs. He returned punts. He did it all. George Winn is the primary backup. He had 34 carries for 141 yards and 1 score. Yeah, it's all Pead, all the time. Gonna miss him.
WR: Anthony McClung is your leader in receptions, yards and TDs. He had 48-675-5. Next up was Kenbrell Thompkins, 44-536-2 TDs. DJ Woods had a disappointing 37-450-2 TDs in his senior year. Alex Chisum came on hard to close the year and should get some looks. He finished the regular season with 18-290-2 TDs. Travis Kelce and Adrien Robinson get occasional looks. Kelce caught more passes, 10-8, but Robinson had more yards, 167-121, and more TDs, 3-2.
OL: Alex Hoffman, Randy Martinez, Evan Davis, Austen Bujnoch and Eric Lefeld hold the rope for the last time. Hoffman, Martinez and Davis are playing their last games as Bearcats. UC ran for 4.6 a pop and 175 yards a game. They averaged 7.5 yards a pass. The line game up 18 sacks. They were kind of penalized a lot late in the year with false starts. But other than that, they are a good group.
DL: The man to watch is 95 Derek Wolfe. He had 64 tackles, 19.5 for loss, and 9.5 sacks. The last 2 led the team. He was the co-Big East Defensive Player of the Year with Khaseem Greene of Rutgers. Wolfe led UC with 6 hurries and had 2 forced fumbles and 2 recoveries. He's a hell of a player. If Vandy doesn't block him, look out. John Hughes is a fellow senior who had 48 tackles, 12.5 for loss and 5 sacks. He blocked a kick. Walter Stewart was a rush end who raised hell late in the year. He had 42 tackles, 11 for loss and 6 sacks. He broke up 8 passes Stewart forced a team best 4 fumbles and recovered 3 others. Jordan Stepp had 33 tackles as part of the line rotation. Dan Giordano had 8.5 TFL, 5 sacks and 7 hurries. Brandon Mills had 6 TFL, 4.5 sacks.
LB: JK Schaffer is the man in the middle. He led UC with 105 tackles. He had 12 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 3 INTs, 6 break ups, 1 hurry, 3 forced fumbles and 3 recovered fumbles. He finished his senior year the best way. He's the man. Maalik Bomar had 55 tackles, 3.5 for loss and 1 sack. He broke up 3 passes and had 2 hurries. He recovered a pair of fumbles. Nick Temple is the third linebacker. He had 27 tackles, 2 TFL. UC goes nickle a lot.
DB: Drew Frey had a great junior season. He was second on the team with 67 tackles, 2.5 for loss. He picked off 2 passes and broke up an additional 6. His fellow safety Wesley Richardson had 66 tackles, 1 INT and 4 break ups. He forced a fumble. Cam Cheatham had 57 tackles at his corner spot. He picked off a pair of passes and 6 break ups. Chris Williams is the nickelback. He had 42 tackles, 4.5 for loss and 2 sacks. Deven Drane is the best cover man on the team. He had 3 picks and 8 break ups.
Special Teams: The golden toe Tony Miliano hit 16-22 FGs and 43-46 extra points. The freak Pat O'Donnell averaged 43.9 a punt with 9 fair catches and 7 touchbacks. He put 25 inside the 20 and 15 were kicked over 50 yards. Danny Milligan and Isaiah Pead should both return punts. Both returned 6. Pead for 75 yards, Milligan for 42. Ralph David Abernathy IV returned 37 kicks for a 24.7 average with a long of 74. Orion Woodard is the special teams ace with 23 tackles.
Record: 6-6, 2-6 in the SEC. 4th in SEC East
Coach: James Franklin 6-6
QB: Jordan Rodgers is Aaron Rodgers' brother. He was 104-202, 1,498 yards, 9 TDs, 9 INTs. Rodgers closed the year with 7 TDs and 4 INTs the last 5 games of the season. He had a career best 297 yards against Florida in a close loss. He played solid against Arkansas, 15-27, 240, 1 TD. He's had good games in losses and bad games in wins. He's a young QB. He's going to make some good throws and make some bad throws. Rodgers was the second leading rusher for Vandy. He ran for 387 yards and 4 TDs.
RB: Zac Stacy is the Vandy star and second team All-SEC. He ran for 1,136 yards and 13 TDs. He busted for 6.2 a carry. Like Pead, he was 5th on the team in receptions. He had 18-95 though. Stacy had giant games in the last 2 Vandy wins. Against Wake Foret he ran 28 times for 184 yards and 3 TDs. Against Kentucky he had 28 carries, 135 yards and 3 TDs. He had another 3 TD game against Army, where he had a career best 198 yards on 21 carries. He's the home run hitter. Jerron Seymour had 81 carries for 263 yards and 4 TDs. He also caught 9 passes for 108 yards. Stacy, Rodgers and Seymour may be the only guys to carry the ball tomorrow.
WR: Jordan Matthews is a home run hitter. He had 37 catches for 722 yards and 5 TDs. He had a big close to the season, finishing with 151 yards, 170, 131, 74 and 79. He's the number 1 target and he gets deep. Chris Boyd is the Vanderbilt freshman receiver who wears 80. He had 29 catches, 404 yards and a team best 7 TDs. He's and up and down player, but they look for him in the red zone. Jonathan Krause had 23 catches for 171 yards. Wesley Tate is a running back who is only a receiver. He had 21 grabs for 171 yards and only 3 carries. Brandon Barden had 13-223-1 TD, he's hit or miss. Fitz Lassing has a cool enough name that I'll mention he caught a TD pass.
OL: Andrew Bridges, Ryan Seymour, Wesley Johnson, Josh Jelesky and Kyle Fisher are the Vandy line. Vandy ran for 4.4 a carry and 167.6 yards a game. That's pretty solid. They averaged 6.7 a pass. Vandy averaged 5.3 yard a play. As a team, not OL, they averaged 51 penalty yards a game, which seems high. The line gave up 26 sacks, which is high.
DL: Tim Fugger was second team SEC. Rob Lohr and TJ Greenstone or Colt Nichter are in the middle. Walker May is the other end. Lohr had 38 tackles, 12 TFL, 5 sacks and a forced fumble. Fugger had 12.5 TFL and 6.5 sacks. Both led the team. He had 4 break ups, 4 passes defended, 4 hurries and 3 forced fumbles. May had 4.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks. He had a couple of fumble recoveries. Nichter had 22 tackles and half a sack. Greenstone had 4 TFL and 2 sacks.
LB: Chris Marve was second team SEC and the middle linebacker. He's joined by Al Owens or Chase Garnham and Archibald Barnes. Marve had 84 tackles, 7 for loss, 1 sack and 1 INT. He broke up 3 passes, defended 4. He had 4 hurries and forced a fumble. He's going to be a pro. Banres had 49 tackles, 4 TFL and 2 sacks. He picked off a pair of passes. He had 4 break ups and 6 defenses. He forced 3 fumbles. Garnham had 44 tackles, 4.5 TFL and a sack. Ownes had 21 tackles.
DB: Casey Hayward was also second team SEC and is a top corner. The other side features Trey Wilson. Javon Marshall and Sean Richardson are the safeties. Richardson was second on the team with 58 tackles. He had 5.5 flor loss and 2 sacks. He had 1 INT, 3 break ups and 4 defenses. Hayward had 54 tackles, 6.5 for loss. He had a team high 5 INTs. He broke up 9 passes and defended 14. That was second in the SEC. He was on the second team All America lists with Wolfe. Kenny Ladler also plays safety, he had 50 tackles and 1 INT. Marshall had 42 tackles, 2 INTs, 6 passes defended. Wilson had 3 INTs, 7 break ups and 10 passes defended.
Special Teams: Ryan Fowler was 3-6 on FGs, 16-16 on extra points. Carey Spear, his actual name because he had horrible parents, also kicked and was 4-7 on FGs and 26-27 on extra points. He kicks off. Richard Kent averaged 42.5 a punt with 16 of them over 50 yards. 10 were fair caught and he had only 4 touchbacks. Andre Hal averaged 23.8 a kick return and took one to the house. He could be dangerous. Jonathan Krause returned 16 punts for 56 yards, a 3.5 average. Hal made 21 special teams tackles.
Get pressure on Rodgers. He's young, he makes mistakes. If UC can force him to hurry his throws and not settle in and fling it down field, the Bearcats could be in business. UC has already faced one SEC team they couldn't pressure, and they paid the price.
Contain Stacy and get Pead going. These are the same key because both offenses work the same way. When the running back is making plays, they are hard to beat. When the running back is not getting yards, the offense bogs down and can't get in motion. Whatever team gets the run game going is probably going to win.
The tight ends make a play. I don't really have a ton of faith that the receivers are going to make big plays. When facing 2 very solid corners, 1 very good, I don't really know who is getting open. That leaves the tight ends. Zach likes throwing deep to Robinson. He uses Kelce as a safety valve. One of those guys is going to have to break something 20 yards.
Keep Collaros on his feet. If Collaros is pressured, I have a feeling bad things are going to happen. I don't really know how he's going to fare with his ankle. It's best to give him time to read the field and run if he wants to. You don't want him hit low and have the ankle turned on the bottom of a pile.
Enjoy it. It's the last game for the seniors. It's been a week long bonding trip in Memphis. The Bearcats will remember this for the rest of their lives. Remember it with a win. For some guys this is going to be the last time they wear the pads. Bowl games are completely meaningless. They are a celebration of the season. Celebrate this one.
Cincinnati 27 Vanderbilt 17