The next man on the Bearcats Blog countdown is the most recent entry. He's also the last player from the last 5 years or so. He's also the last football player on the list. Sorry, Cincinnati basketball holds a bigger piece of my heart than Cincinnati football. Blame my dad for not being into UC football when I was growing up. We all make our own decisions, and while I love UC football, I was a total bandwagon jumper in 97 when they made the bowl game. Still, some people reading this site weren't alive in 1997, so I've been a fan longer than them and they suck. This is yet another case of me ruining the intro of another person by talking about myself. Which really sucks because the person that I'm writing about is Isaiah Pead.
Isaiah Pead came to Cincinnati as a 3 star recruit. He would leave Cincinnati as a 5 star player. He had the unique talent of being able to hit the home run, but also handle the bulk of the carries. The last two years when Pead got the ball a lot, UC won. DeMarco McCleskey was a good player and Reggie Taylor is the UC all time leading rusher, but in my opinion, Pead was better. No Bearcat back has ever passed 4,300 yards in their career. That is a lot of yards, but I think if Pead got the right amount of carries during his career, he could have done it. What he actually did was great. He was the Big East Offensive Player of the Year after all.
Pead didn't immediately run into our hearts. Through the first month of the season, he had 1 carry and 2 yards against Akron. An opportunity arose the following game against Marshall. Pead took 11 carries for 59 yards. He didn't play until the end of the month against UConn, where he caught an 8 yard pass. Isaiah had 8 carries for 49 yards in the Big East title clinching game against Syracuse. UC ended the regular season on the small island nation of Hawaii, where Pead had a season high 74 yards on 8 carries, and 21 receiving yards. He saw limited action in the Orange Bowl against Virginia Tech, running twice for 10 yards.
The freshman year numbers don't blow you away. Pead had 30 carries for 194 yards, 6.5 yards a carry. He had 2 catches for 11 yards. He had 32 plays from scrimmage for 205 yards.
For the 2009 season, Pead shared carries with senior Jacob Ramsay. Ramsay was more of a power guy, Pead more the change of pace back. It was Pead who got the first 2 carries of the season for UC. They both went for 2 yards. The second went for a TD, the first of Pead's career. Pead tacked on his first receiving TD later in the first half, when he caught a screen and housed it from 41 yards out. UC scored 14 points in a little over a minute in a half to put that one away. Pead had 8 carries for 47 yards, 1 TD and 2 catches for 52 yards, 1 TD. Isaiah had a solid 11 carry, 45 yard game against SEMO the next week. He had nearly the same ground game the following game against Oregon St, 11-46, but he scored a 1 yard rushing TD. The TD gave UC the lead that they would never relinquish. Pead had 3 catches for 39 yards. Pead only had 4 carries, 27 yards against Fresno, but he scored a 4 yard TD. That TD was also the TD that put UC ahead for good in that game. Pead accounted for 100 total yards, 60 rushing, 40 receiving, in the Victory Bell game against Miami. Pead got a then season high 12 carries in the big game at USF. He picked up 55 yards. He also had 3 catches for 30 yards in the win.
We saw glimpses of Pead taking the spotlight, but it was against Louisville he bathed in it. He capped off the first UC drive with a TD run, he caught a 15 yard TD pass from Zach Collaros. Late in the 3rd quarter, Pead busted a 67 yard TD run against the Cards. He finished with 6-88-2 TDs, 2-14, 1 TD. Pead was the Bearcats leading rusher against Syracuse, running for 77 yards on 16 carries. The next game was against UConn. Pead bookended the scoring for the Bearcats. He scored another short opening drive TD to make it 7-0. The Huskies had cut a 37-17 lead to 40-38. The Bearcats faced 4th and 1 at the UConn 14. The carry went to Pead, who not only got the first down, but he scored a touchdown to ice the game. That capped a 2 TD, 10-67 night.
The nation got a look at what Isaiah was capable of when the Bearcats hosted West Virginia under the lights. He gave them a show. On the opening drive, he ran for 7, 6, 7, and 18. He popped a 52 yard run in the second quarter. Later in the quarter, he cashed in a 2 yard TD. With UC up 21-14 with 5 minutes left, Pead broke a 43 yard run to the WV 33. After a 3 yard run, he caught a 10 yard pass to get UC to the 20. That set up the game icing field goal. Pead had his first career 100 yard rushing game with 175 yards on 18 carries. That's 9.7 yards a pop. He had 1 TD. He also had 13 yards receiving. After that amazing performance, Pead had 4 carries for -5 yards against Illinois. He had a 6 yard reception to give him 1 total yard. The Bearcats didn't run the ball very much (18 attempts) for very many yards (69) against Pitt, but Pead had a couple of big plays. He hit a 40 yard run to get UC in scoring position to tie the game at 7. With 5:46 left, Pead scored a TD that pulled UC within 2. Pead finished with 9 carries, no other UC player had more 4 carries and that was Tony Pike and sacks count as rushes, for 76 yards and a TD. I know I said Uc had 69 rushing yards and Pead had more than that, but Pike had -11. Pead got 7 carries in the Sugar Bowl. He converted them for 48 yards. He had a 7 yard catch.
We really started seeing what Isaiah Pead was capable of his sophomore season. He had 121 carries for 806 yards, 6.7 yards a carry. He scored 9 TDs. He caught 20 passes for 201 yards with 2 TDs. He finished the year with 141 plays from scrimmage for 1,007 yards and 11 TDs.
Pead's junior year got off to a very rough start. He was bottled up for 36 yards on 10 carries against Fresno St. He had 28 receiving yards too. But Pead was banged up in the game. Pead sat out the Indiana State game, and was a decoy against NC State days later. He wouldn't see significant action until the Oklahoma game on September 25, 21 days after the opener. With UC down 14-3 and pinned at their 11, Pead ran for 16 and 13 on a scoring drive. UC was down 24-9 when Pead had carries of 13 and 25, as well as -2, on a FG drive. Isaiah had a 15 yard catch and a 15 yard run on the TD drive that cut the lead to 2. Pead carved up the OU defense for 169 yards on 21 carries, with 9 receiving yards on 4 catches. The good times rolled against Miami. Pead scored his first TD of the year on an 80 yard run. Later in the game he had a 69 yard run. In just 10 carries, Pead rushed for 197 yards and 1 TD. Even though Zach Collaros threw for 5 TDs against Louisville, Pead was a big part in gashing the Cardinal defense. He ran 21 times for 145 yards. That's 6.9 yards a carry. He ran for 511 yards on 51 carries those 3 weeks. That's 10 yards a carry. It was incredible.
The Bearcats season hit the skids after the Louisville game. Pead was held to 3.2 yards a carry, 15-48, in a loss to USF. He was even worse against Syracuse, rushing for just 23 yards on 11 carries. He had 28 receiving yards. Pead didn't get a ton of carries against West Virginia, 8, because UC was getting drilled. But he ran for a 53 yard TD as part of his 78 yard day. The light after the stormy 3 games was the Rutgers defense.
Points were in the air on this November night. And Isaiah Pead made sure to score a lot of them. Like he did on the second UC drive when he caught a pass and turned it into a 34 yard TD. 3 minutes later, Pead ran one in from 24 yards. Pead nearly had a 3rd TD early in the 2nd quarter, but he ran for 30 yards when he needed 31. A few minutes later, Pead got that 3rd TD with a 9 yard scamper. Rutgers got the second half going with a TD pass. With the Cats facing 3rd-1, Pead broke a 9 yard run. He didn't feel like being tackled on his next carry, so he took it 24 yards for a score. After Rutgers scored another TD pass to cut the lead to 17, DJ Woods returned the punt to the Rutgers 37. Isaiah ran up the sidelines for 11 yards on first down. He took another first down run 26 yards for his 4th rushing TD of the game. He did all the heavy lifting on the last UC TD drive, with runs for 3, 12, 3 and 2 after an INT. UC scored on a 4 yard TD pass. Overall, Pead had 31 carries for 213 yards, 6.9 yards a carry, 4 TDs, 36 receiving yards and 1 TD. It was enough to get him named Big East Player of the Week.
UC went right back to losing for the last 2 games of the year. Pead matched his 36 receiving yards against UConn, but was held to 23 yards on 11 carries. He ran for 97 yards on 19 carries against Pitt, but he had a fumble in that game after one of his 2 catches for 7 yards. The game was good enough to put Pead over the 1,000 yard plateau.
Isaiah Pead ran 157 times for 1,029 yards, 6.6 yards a carry and 6 TDs his junior season. He caught 26 passes for 190 yards and 1 TD. He had 183 plays from scrimmage for 1,219 yards and 7 TDs. He scored 5 TDs in one game. He was kind of unlucky in the TD sense. But, Pead was named second team All-Big East.
With Pead being TD unlucky as a junior, he decided to make his own luck his senior year. In the very first carry of the very first drive of the very first game, Pead ran 40 yards down the sidelines for a TD. On his 3rd carry of the season, Pead burst 13 yards for another TD. He would pick up 87 yards on 7 carries, 12.4 yards a carry, with 2 TDs and 10 receiving yards in the UC win. The following game against Tennessee, Pead once again took his first carry to the house. This time it was from 65 yards out. Pead had a 27 yard run on the next drive that set up the 2nd UC TD. He had a 23 yard run near the end of the half to help UC get into field goal range, but the kick was blocked. Pead touched the ball just 4 times in the second half. He had 14 carries for 155 yards, 1 TD, 2 catches for 15 yards in the loss. Pead scored an opening drive TD against Akron, then got the rest of the game off pretty much. He had 6-17-1 TD.
ESPN was in town to cover the Thursday night game between the Bearcats and NC State Wolfpack. Isaiah was a gracious host and kicked off the scoring with a 2 yard TD. Midway through the 3rd quarter, Pead caught a pass from Collaros and turned it into a 25 yard TD to make the score 34-7. In between those plays, Pead could not be stopped. He ran all over the Wolfpack for 167 yards on 27 carries, with 24 receiving yards mixed in. Not to mention the 2 TDs. Speaking of 2 TDs, that's as many as Pead had in the 3rd quarter of the win over Miami. He punched them in from 3 yards and 4 yards. The Bearcat offense had trouble closing drives before those Pead TDs. Isaiah had a modest game on the ground besides that, 18-49. Louisville had the top ranked defense in the Big East coming into their game with the Bearcats. For most of the game, they kept Pead in check. But things changed on 1 play in the 4th quarter. With UC down 16-14, Pead took a carry, cut and ran a very long way, 50 yards, for the go ahead TD. Pead ran for 51 yards the rest of the quarter, 42 on the game icing FG drive, for a 101 yard quarter. He had 20 carries, 151 yards, 7.6 a carry, 1 TD for the game. That game capped a string of 6 games with a rushing TD to start the season. Pead had a TD in the first 7 games because he caught a 6 yard screen pass for a TD against USF. He had 79 yards on 22 carries with 4 catches for 48 yards and the score as UC won.
Even though there was no scoring to be had against Pittsburgh, it doesn't mean that Isaiah Pead didn't play a big role in that game. He accounted for 28 total yards on the TD drive that tied the game at 13. He had 22 carries overall for 118 yards, with 20 receiving yards. The next week's game was against West Virginia. Pead popped his second carry 40 yards for a UC score. Pead struck again in the 4th quarter with UC down 3. He capped off a drive with a 10 yard TD to put UC in the lead. It capped off a 19-113-2 TD, 67 yard receiving game for Pead. He was completely neutralized the following game against Rutgers. He had 28 yards on 14 carries.
Isaiah Pead had caught passes, but he wasn't what you thought of as a pass catching back. He had the best receiving game of his career in a must win game against Syracuse. He caught 9 passes for 112 yards, including a 67 yard TD. He also ran 17 times for 80 yards. One of the runs was for a 24 yard TD. Not only did he do that, but he returned punts for the first time in his career. He returned 2 for 54 yards. Both punt returns set up short drives that resulted in field goals. Pead had 246 total yards that day, 3 short of his career high. Pead finished the regular season with a solid 23-68 on the ground and 21 punt return yards against UConn. It wasn't all peaches and ice cream though. Pead lost a fumble and was called for a personal foul. But at the end, the ran for 8 yards to set up a short conversion by Munchie Legaux and ran for a 1st down to let UC run out the clock.
In his final game as a Bearcat, Isaiah Pead ran all over Vanderbilt. He had 26 carries for 121 yards when UC got an INT late. Pead ran for 16 on his first carry. On his last ever carry as a Cincinnati Bearcat, Isaiah Pead ran for a 12 yard TD to ice the game. He finished with 28 carries for 149 yards, 1 TD and 15 receiving yards. He was named the MVP of the Liberty Bowl.
Isaiah Pead ran 237 times for 1,259 yards, 5.3 yards a carry. He had 12 rushing TDs. He caught 39 passes for 319 yards and 3 TDs. He had 74 punt return yards. In 276 plays from scrimmage, he had 1,578 yards and 15 TDs. He led the Big East in rushing yards and rushing TDs. He was 1st in yards from scrimmage. He was 1st in TDs. For his greatness, Pead was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year. Pead was the first Bearcat to be awarded that honor. He was also one of 3 player to be unanimous selections to the All Big East team.
Isaiah finished with 545 carries for 3,288 yards, 6 yards a carry, and 27 rushing TDs. He had 87 catches for 721 yards and 6 TDs. He had 4,009 yards from scrimmage his UC career and 33 TDs. He is ranked 3rd all time in rushing yards and rushing TDs for the university. He's 6th in attempts and 100 yard games. His 6 yards a carry ranks 4th. He's tied for second in total TDs.
Why He Made the List
He was one of the greatest offensive players in the history of the program. He's the only Bearcat to be named Big East Offensive Player of the Year. He was an amazing talent. He was a joy to watch.
What He's Doing Now
Isaiah was drafted in the 2nd round by the St Louis Rams. He had 10 carries, 33 yards and 9 receiving yards his first preseason game and -8 total yards his second. You can follow him on twitter, @iPead.