Cincinnati 59, Akron 14
September 17, 2011
Nipper Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
The Cincinnati Bearcats defeated the Akron Zips on Saturday afternoon by a final score of 59-14, moving their record to 2-1 on the year as they begin a short week of preparation before taking on North Carolina State next Thursday on national television.
The Bearcats were again able to put their opponent in an early hole when Isaiah Pead ran in a touchdown from a yard out on the games first drive.
From there, it was the defense that broke things open. On Akron’s first offensive series of the game, quarterback Clayton Moore was sacked, causing him to lose the football. Linebacker Maalik Bomar was there to scoop up the loose ball and returned 60 yards for a score.
A Dominique Battle interception returned for a touchdown would extend the Bearcat lead to 21-0 early in the second quarter, and the rest was academic.
Cincinnati Quarterback Zach Collaros finished the game 10-of-16 passing for 157 yards and a touchdown, but it was the defense that made its mark on Saturday. In total, the Bearcat defense forced 5 turnovers and scored 21 points. Dominique Battle, JK Schaeffer, Devan Drane, and Cameron Cheatham all hauled in interceptions, while Maalik Bomar and Dan Giordano each recovered fumbles. Bomar, Battle, and Chatham all returned their turnovers for scores.
Butch Jones Speaks
On Saturday’s Win
“This was a good team win today. We were very opportunistic on defense. I like the confidence we played with. We were able to generate a pass rush. I thought our defensive line did some good things, but we still have to clean up a lot of things. Winning can hide some things.”
On Moving Forward
“Well we have a short week. Tomorrow is actually Tuesday on the football calendar. We need to continue to progress and get better as we go. It’s on to NC State as soon as we walk out these doors. “
3. Number of defensive touchdowns scored by the Bearcats on Saturday, the most in school history. As elaborated upon below, it had been nearly three years since the Bearcats last scored a defensive touchdown.
1392. The number of days between Angelo Craig’s fumble recovery for a touchdown on November 24th, 2007 in a 52-31 win over Syracuse and Maalik Bomar’s fumble recovery for a touchdown in the Bearcats’ win over Akron on Saturday – the last two times the Bearcats executed such a play.
1014. The number of days between Brandon Underwood’s interception return for a touchdown on December 6th, 2008 in a win over Hawai’i, and Dominique Battle’s interception return for a touchdown in the Bearcats’ win over Akron on Saturday –the last two times the Bearcats accomplished such a feat.
The turning point in Saturday’s game came when Dominique Battle intercepted a Clayton Moore pass and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown, extending the Bearcats’ lead to 21-0. Despite getting off to a quick start, the Bearcats never seemed totally in control throughout the first quarter. Their offense struggled to find any sort of rhythm. But it was the Bearcats second offensive touchdown of the day that sucked the life out of the Akron sideline and put the game to rest.
My unsung hero award for Saturday’s game goes to the defensive line as a whole. The Bearcats were able to consistently put pressure on the quarter while only rushing four against the Zips. The pressure forced two fumbles, one of which was returned for a score, and an interception that was also returned for a touchdown by cornerback Dominique Battle.
The Bearcats appeared to escape their game against Akron without any significant injuries. Through three games, the Bearcats have been very fortunate to stay relatively healthy – a very important part of making a run at another Big East crown.
As was the case in their previous two games, the game got off to a quick start for the Bearcats and running back Isaiah Pead. For the first time all season, Isaiah Pead failed to take his first carry of the game into the endzone, but after winning the toss the Bearcats were still able to pick apart the Akron defense behind the arm of quarterback Zach Collaros. Their opening drive was capped off with an Isaiah Pead touchdown run from one yard out, giving the Bearcats the early 7-0 lead.
Akron’s first drive of the game seemed to be exposing the Bearcats biggest weakness, with the Zips completing numerous long passes to extend their drive. However, the Bearcats showed their ‘bend-but-don’t-break’ sprit when they got to the quarterback, forced a fumble, and picked up six quick points when Maalik Bomar scooped up the fumble and returned it 60 yards for the score, giving the Bearcats an early 14-0 lead.
After a couple of stalled drives from each offense, the Bearcats would catch another break when a blitz forced Akron’s quarterback to scramble and simply drop the ball. The Bearcats recovered the fumble and took over at Akron’s 30-yard line. After a 3-and-out, however, Tony Miliano’s field goal was blocked, and the score remained 14-0 as the first quarter drew to a close.
As the second quarter got underway, the Bearcat defense found itself on its heels as Akron began to gain some momentum on offense. This time, help would come from an unlikely place – the secondary. The often criticized Bearcat defensive backs got a huge boost when senior Dominique Battle intercepted a sideline pass and took it all the way to the house, giving the Bearcats a 21-point lead.
After yet another anemic possession from the Akron offense, The Bearcats would score again on a Zach Collaros 7-yard touchdown run. The touchdown run, Collaros’ first rushing touchdown of the season, was set up by a 50-yard completion to DJ Woods on the previous play.
The Bearcats would extend their lead even further when Zach Collaros found Adrien Robinson from 16 yards out to give Cincinnati a 35-0 lead with 8 minutes remaining in the first half.
After yet another Akron turnover, this time via an interception by linebacker JK Schaeffer, the Bearcats would continue to extend their lead. George Winn carried it in from 3 yards out to give the Bearcats a 42-0 lead with 5 minutes to go in the first half.
With just a few minutes remaining in the first half, Cameron Cheatham intercepted a pass and returned it down the sideline for another Cincinnati touchdown. The score at the half was Cincinnati, 49, Akron, 0.
The third quarter began with Akron receiving the ball. Facing a Bearcat defense composed almost entirely of reserves , they appeared to be driving towards their first touchdown of the season. However, Devan Drane picked off a Clayton Moore pass in the endzone, giving the Bearcats the ball.
On their next drive, the Bearcats, led by Munchie Legaux at quarterback, continued to move the ball well, setting themselves up for a 47-yard field goal to extend their lead to 52-0 midway through the quarter.
The rest of the third quarter saw very little action. The Bearcats ran the ball often, trying to run the clock out and get home with a win. Akron continued to struggle on offense. The third quarter ended with the Zips still in a 52-point hole.
The fourth quarter got underway with a bang for both teams. First, Jameel Poteat scored on a short touchdown run for the Bearcats, capping off a drive that began in the third quarter, and pushing their lead to 59-0.
Then, in the blink of an eye, Akron got their first touchdown of the season when quarterback Clayton Moore found Keith Sconiers streaking down the sideline for a 51-yard touchdown, making the score to 59-7.
With under a minute remaining, Akron quarterback Clayton Moore threw his second touchdown pass of the game, finding AJ Price from eleven yards out for six.
The Bearcats were able to pick up their second win of the season against an abysmal Akron team that has now lost its first three games by a combined score of 142-17. While a win is always nice, this victory proves little in terms of how ready the Bearcats are to make a run at their third Big East championship in five seasons.
Nonetheless, the offense again looked as dynamic as nearly any offense in the country, and the defense showed signs of improvement – albeit against an anemic Akron offense.
The Bearcats must now turn their focus to North Carolina State and their meeting with Wolfpack on Thursday night in a nationally televised game at Nippert Stadium.
With only a few days to prepare, the Bearcats must make the most of every practice if they hope to knock off the Wolfpack, move their record to 3-1, and bolster a reputation that was tarnished last weekend when the Bearcats failed to perform well in front of a national audience against Tennessee.
Notable– provided by UC Sports Information Department
• Cincinnati Game Captains: Zach Collaros, JK Schaffer, DJ Woods and Randy Martinez
• Akron Game Captains: Brian Wagner, Adam Steiner, Jake Anderson and Oren Wilson
• Akron won the coin toss and opted to defer. UC will receive and defend the north goal.
• The Bearcats improve to 4-2 all-time against Akron, including a 3-1 mark in Cincinnati. UC head coach Butch Jones moves to 3-0 all-time against the Zips.
• UC has won 20 consecutive home non-conference games at Nippert Stadium, dating back to a three-overtime, 30-24 win over Temple on Sept. 20, 2003.
• Cincinnati grabbed four interceptions and forced two fumbles against Akron. The Bearcats returned one fumble for a score and two interceptions for touchdowns - all in the first half.
• Cincinnati becomes the first BIG EAST Conference team to post three defensive touchdowns since Miami (Fla.) scored on two interceptions and one fumble against West Virginia in a 41-10 victory on Sept. 23, 2000.
• The Bearcats' six forced turnovers are the most for UC since forcing seven against Oregon State on Sept. 6, 2007.
• UC's four interceptions against Akron are the most since snagging six against Oregon State on Sept. 6, 2007.
• UC's 103 interception return yards against Akron are the most since recording 110 interception return yards against Oregon State on Sept. 2007.
• Cincinnati's 49 points in the first half were its most points in the first half since leading Southeast Missouri State 49-3 at halftime on Sept. 12, 2009.
• UC scored on its opening drive of the game for the third consecutive week - a one-yard run from Isaiah Pead. It marked the third consecutive game Pead has scored a rushing touchdown. The drive covered 60 yard on nine plays in 3:19.
• Maalik Bomar put Cincinnati up 14-0 at 8:21 in the first quarter when he picked up a fumble from Akron quarterback Clayton Moore and ran it 54 yards for a touchdown. Bearcats defensive lineman Derek Wolfe forced the fumble. It marked UC's first fumble recovery ran for a touchdown since Angelo Craig returned a fumble recovery 16 yards for a score at Syracuse on Nov. 24, 2007. It also marked UC's first defensive touchdown since Brandon Underwood returned an interception 20 yards for a score at Hawaii on Dec. 6, 2008.
• The defense scored again to give the Bearcats a 21-0 advantage when defensive back Dominique Battle intercepted a Clayton Moore pass and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown at 14:51 in the second quarter. It marked the first time UC returned an interception for a touchdown since Brandon Underwood returned an interception 20 yards for a score at Hawaii on Dec. 6, 2008.
• UC quarterback Zack Collaros rushed seven yards for a touchdown at 11:40 in the second quarter to give the Bearcats a 28-0 edge. The five-play, 67-yard drive was highlighted by a 50-yard reception by DJ Woods from Collaros that gave UC a first-and-goal situation.
• Tight end Adrien Robinson caught a 15-yard touchdown from Collaros at 7:56 in the second quarter to give UC a 35-0 lead.
• Running back George Winn recorded his first career rushing touchdown, a three-yard run, to give UC a 42-0 lead at 4:54.
• Defensive back Camerron Cheatham recorded UC's third interception of the first half when he picked off a Clayton Moore pass and returned it 53 yards for a touchdown at 1:41 in the second quarter to give UC a 49-0 lead.
• Freshman placekicker Tony Miliano connected on a career-long, 47-yard field goal at 6:17 in the third quarter to give UC a 52-0 lead.
• Running back Jameel Poteat earned his first career rushing touchdown, a seven-yard run, at 14:26 in the fourth quarter to give UC a 59-0 lead.
• Running back Anthony King fumbled with 2:02 left in the game for UC's first turnover of the season. The Bearcats own a plus-12 turnover margin this year after forcing six turnovers against the Zips.
• Cincinnati has outscored its home opponents 90-0 in the first half this season (41-0 vs. Austin Peay and 49-0 vs. Akron).
• Head coach Butch Jones played four quarterbacks during the game (Zach Collaros, Jordan Luallen, Munchie Legaux, Brendon Kay).
• Senior quarterback Zach Collaros posted his first rushing touchdown of the season, a seven-yard score at 11:40 in the second quarter to give the Bearcats a 28-0 edge. He also completed 10-of-16 pass attempts for 157 passing yards.
• Collaros moved into sixth place on UC's career passing yards list with 4,859, surpassing Lance Harp (1991-93) who threw for 4,803 yards. Collaros also moved into a tie for seventh place with former Bearcat Danny Barrett (1980-82) with 352 pass career pass completions.
• Jameel Poteat recorded 10 rushes for 55 yards - both career highs - including his first collegiate touchdown, a seven-yard run, at 14:26 in the fourth quarter.
• Linebacker Clemente Casseus led the Bearcats defense with five tackles, including one tackle for loss.
• Defensive lineman Derek Wolfe recorded a forced fumble and had two sacks in the first quarter. The forced fumble was returned 54 yards by Maalik Bomar to give UC a 14-0 lead at 8:21. Wolfe has three career forced fumbles.
• Defensive lineman Dan Giordano recorded a forced fumble and fumble recovery at the 2:15 mark of the first quarter when he stripped the ball from Zips quarterback Clayton Moore. It marks Giordano's second career forced fumble.
• DJ Woods' 50-yard reception in the second quarter was a season long. His career long is 69 yards set last season at N.C. State on Sept. 16.
• Adrian Robinson caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Collaros with 7:56 remaining in the second quarter. It marked the second consecutive week the tight end has recorded a touchdown reception. He caught a 13-yard TD pass from Collaros in the first quarter at Tennessee.
• Linebacker JK Schaffer intercepted a Patrick Nicely pass at 6:38 in the second quarter. It marks Schaffer's second interception of the season and the sixth of his career.
• Defensive back Camerron Cheatham earned his first interception of the season and the second of his career when he picked off a Clayton Moore pass and returned it 53 yards for a touchdown at 1:41 in the second quarter to give UC a 49-0 lead.
• Defensive back Deven Drane picked off a Clayton Moore pass at 10:38 in the third quarter. It marked his first career interception.
• Freshman Tony Miliano connected on a career-long, 47-yard field goal at 6:17 in the third quarter to give UC a 52-0 lead. He had a 43-yard field goal attempt blocked in the second quarter. He has made three-of-five field goal attempts on the season.
• Punter Pat O'Donnell had three punts for 123 yards against Akron, including a 53 yard punt in the third quarter. He placed three punts inside the 20-yard line.