Originally written on Bearcats Blog  |  Last updated 11/18/14

On Saturday afternoon, the Cincinnati Bearcats finished the year in style with a 31-24 win over Vanderbilt in the Liberty Bowl. Cincinnati ended 2011 with a 10-3 season. It was a season that started with smiles and ended in smiles. That's really all you can ask for. Bowl games may be completely meaningless in general, but there was 1 that mattered this season and it was the Liberty Bowl. Cincinnati won the most important game of the bowl season. And as an added plus, the UC fans busted out an SEC chant, which is amazing. Speaking of amazing, let's use happy and sad Butch Jones to go through some lingering game thoughts. 

 Let's start with the player who left the biggest stamp of the season on UC football, Isaiah Pead. One of the big keys of the game in everyone's eyes was if Pead could get going against the Vandy defense. Pead did that and more. He had 28 carries for 149 yards and a TD. Pead also had 15 receiving yards. 62 yards in the 4th quarter. His TD came in the 4th quarter. When it was winning time, Isaiah Pead was the one who applied the coffin nails. He's by far the best Bearcat running back that I remember. I hope he turns heads at the Senior Bowl the way he turned heads all year and gets drafted in the prime time hours. Absolutely huge game for Pead. Gigantic performance. 



 You can't credit Pead without giving major props to the offensive line. UC ran for 221 yards, 5 yards a carry. Zach Collaros went down 3 times, most of them early. Once the line got their adjustments in, they pulverized the Vandy front. They weren't going to lose. Hoffman, Martinez, Davis, Bujnoch, and Lefeld get a huge round of applause. Job well done. 

 If we are going to talk about the offensive line and the running game, hello George Winn. His 69 yard run early in the second quarter tied the score. Didn't know he had it in him. Winn got two excellent blocks from Adrien Robinson on the play. 1 sealed a linebacker that let Winn take off. Another was down the field. The blocking was perfect and George Winn got his moment. 



 For as good as those moments were, the happy moments for the passing game just weren't there. Hats off to Zach Collaros for busting his ass to come back for the bowl game, but he offered pretty much what UC would have gotten from Munchie Legaux. Zombie was 12-29, 80 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs. He was high on passes, he was short on deep balls, he got a couple of guys laid out, he just didn't have it. Rust was an issue. You can't replicate a great pass defense in practice. Both of his interceptions were horrible throws. He starred down Kenbrell Thompkins on the first, allowing Casey Hayward to jump the route. In the 4th quarter, Collaros horribly underthrew a deep ball that resulted in another Hayward pick. Hayward is really, really good, but Zach made it easy on him. At least he'll be remembered as going out with a win, which is a positive. 

 The Cincinnati defense had a big game. Vandy ran for 127 yards on 36 carries, which is 3.5 a pop. 22 of those yards came on 3 plays after a Collaros pick for a TD. They disrupted the already bad Vandy passing game. Commodore QBs werent 12-34, 168 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs. Zac Stacy, the Vandy star, had 18 carries for 57 yards. Locked him up. It wasn't the prettiest effort overall, but it was a very solid one that allowed the Bearcats victory. 

 Unfortunately, the Bearcats had 1 major defensive breakdown. A short pass to Chris Boyd turned up field and went all the way for 68 yards and a go ahead TD. The Bearcats took horrible angles up the field and looked completely off guard. Big plays were a problem for the defense at times this season, and that problem reared it's ugly head one last time. 

 Fortunately for UC, they got the lead right back. Ralph David Abernathy IV had been close to breaking a couple of kicks for scores this season. Saturday afternoon he finally did it. His 90 yard kick return for a TD turned momentum right back Cincinnati's way. Big play by the freshman. Did you know his great grandfather is the civil rights leader Ralph David Abernathy? I didn't either. Wish the announcers would have mentioned that when he took a kickoff this year. Especially in Memphis. Maybe next year they will get that note in. 



 The golden toe Tony Miliano didn't have the best of Liberty Bowls. He drilled a 44 yarder early in the 4th quarter to put UC up front 17-14. That was good. But that kick was also sandwiched two misses. The first was a miss so bad left that it went into the stands. Wind was an issue, but daaaaaamn. That miss came after Vandy fumbled the opening kickoff of the half. It was a bit deflating. The second was with 4 minutes left and not totally his fault. That's because for the 45th time this year, UC had a kick blocked. Rough way to close. 

 JK Schaffer closed his UC career with 9 tackles and a sack. Derek Wolfe with 6 tackles and 2 tackles for loss. Wes Richardson had 5 tackles. John Hughes 3 tackles. Those are the seniors. Brandon Mills had a sack. Cam Cheatham an interception. Some of the defensive stars. 

 Nick Temple had a breakout game. He was second on the team with 8 tackles. He forced a fumble on a kick return. He had an INT late that set up the Pead coffin nails TD. He showed a lot out there. UC didn't go nickle as much as they normally did, and Temple made big plays all day.  

 In a year that the wide receivers struggled, the wide receivers struggled Saturday. Collaros wasn't himself, but the receivers had a few drops to hurt things. Anthony McClung did catch a TD pass late in the first half. You add his 8 yard catch with Alex Chisum's 12 yard catch, and you have all the catches by wide receivers in the Liberty Bowl. Travis Kelce was the leading receiver with 29 yards. Not the best of ways to go out. 



 I talked about the fumble to start the second half a little bit ago. The man who recovered that gaff? Special teams ace Orion 'OJ' Woodard. Vandy got juiced. 

  UC held the ball 11:58 and went 0-5 on 3rd downs in the first half. Their average field position was the UC 21. 

 UC held the ball 18:39 and went 4-10 on 3rd downs in the second half. Their average field position was the Vanderbilt 47. 

 The season is over. 

 A hell of a year it was. 


Thanks to Cincinnati.com for letting me use their photos all year long. Thanks to Go Bearcats for letting me use their box scores and stats all year long. Thanks to the Cincinnati Bearcats for putting on a great show for 13 games. Most importantly, thanks to you for being along for the ride.

 Team Statistics (Final) 
2011 Cincinnati Football 
Cincinnati vs Vanderbilt (12/31/11 at Memphis, Tenn.)

Team Totals CIN VANDY FIRST DOWNS 20 14 Rushing 13 6 Passing 4 5 Penalty 3 3 NET YARDS RUSHING 221 127 Rushing Attempts 44 36 Average Per Rush 5.0 3.5 Rushing Touchdowns 2 2 Yards Gained Rushing 256 143 Yards Lost Rushing 35 16 NET YARDS PASSING 80 168 Completions-Attempts-Int 12-29-2 12-34-2 Average Per Attempt 2.8 4.9 Average Per Completion 6.7 14.0 Passing Touchdowns 1 1 TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS 301 295 Total offense plays 73 70 Average Gain Per Play 4.1 4.2 Fumbles: Number-Lost 3-0 2-1 Penalties: Number-Yards 5-55 6-39 PUNTS-YARDS 7-300 8-338 Average Yards Per Punt 42.9 42.2 Net Yards Per Punt 36.9 42.4 Inside 20 1 4 50+ Yards 2 2 Touchbacks 1 0 Fair catch 0 2 KICKOFFS-YARDS 6-377 4-260 Average Yards Per Kickoff 62.8 65.0 Net Yards Per Kickoff 45.8 25.0 Touchbacks 0 2 Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD 2--1-0 3-22-0 Average Per Return -0.5 7.3 Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD 2-120-1 6-102-0 Average Per Return 60.0 17.0 Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD 2-17-0 2-11-0 Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD 0-0-0 0-0-0 Miscellaneous Yards 0 11 Possession Time 30:37 29:14 1st Quarter 6:21 8:39 2nd Quarter 5:37 9:23 3rd Quarter 9:22 5:29 4th Quarter 9:17 5:43 Third-Down Conversions 4 of 15 6 of 19 Fourth-Down Conversions 0 of 0 1 of 2 Red-Zone Scores-Chances 2-3 3-3 Touchdowns 2-3 2-3 Field goals 0-3 1-3 Sacks By: Number-Yards 2-7 3-15 PAT Kicks 4-4 3-3 Field Goals 1-3 1-1 Individual Statistics Individual Statistics (Final) 
2011 Cincinnati Football 
Cincinnati vs Vanderbilt (12/31/11 at Memphis, Tenn.)

Cincinnati Vanderbilt RUSHING No. Gain Loss Net TD Lg Avg. Pead, Isaiah 28 156 7 149 1 18 5.3 Winn, George 6 79 1 78 1 69 13.0 MCCLUNG, A. 1 4 0 4 0 4 4.0 TEAM 1 0 2 -2 0 0 -2.0 Collaros, Zach 8 17 25 -8 0 7 -1.0 Totals... 44 256 35 221 2 69 5.0 RUSHING No. Gain Loss Net TD Lg Avg. Zac Stacy 18 64 7 57 1 11 3.2 Jordan Rodgers 9 40 7 33 0 10 3.7 Richard Kent 1 17 0 17 0 17 17.0 Larry Smith 5 17 0 17 0 8 3.4 Jerron Seymour 2 5 0 5 1 5 2.5 TEAM 1 0 2 -2 0 0 -2.0 Totals... 36 143 16 127 2 17 3.5 PASSING Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Long Sack Collaros, Zach 12-29-2 80 1 13 3 Totals... 12-29-2 80 1 13 3 PASSING Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Long Sack Larry Smith 8-19-1 142 1 68 0 Jordan Rodgers 4-14-1 26 0 11 2 Zac Stacy 0-1-0 0 0 0 0 Totals... 12-34-2 168 1 68 2 RECEIVING No. Yds TD Lg ROBINSON, A. 4 16 0 7 Kelce, Travis 3 29 0 13 Pead, Isaiah 3 15 0 10 Chisum, Alex 1 12 0 12 MCCLUNG, A. 1 8 1 8 Totals... 12 80 1 13 RECEIVING No. Yds TD Lg Jordan Matthews 4 56 0 24 Brandon Barden 3 20 0 11 Chris Boyd 2 69 1 68 Zac Stacy 2 11 0 6 Wesley Tate 1 12 0 12 Totals... 12 168 1 68 PUNTING No. Yds Avg Long In20 TB O'Donnell, Pat 7 300 42.9 61 1 1 Totals... 7 300 42.9 61 1 1 PUNTING No. Yds Avg Long In20 TB Richard Kent 8 338 42.2 61 4 0 Totals... 8 338 42.2 61 4 0 Punts Kickoffs Intercept ALL RETURNS No Yds Lg No Yds Lg No Yds Lg Pead, Isaiah 2 -1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ABERNATHY, RD 0 0 0 2 120 90 0 0 0 CHEATHAM, C. 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 5 Temple, Nick 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 12 12 Totals... 2 -1 0 2 120 90 2 17 12 Punts Kickoffs Intercept ALL RETURNS No Yds Lg No Yds Lg No Yds Lg Zac Stacy 0 0 0 1 9 9 0 0 0 Steven Clarke 0 0 0 1 23 23 0 0 0 Jonathan Krause 3 22 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 Casey Hayward 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 11 11 Eric Samuels 0 0 0 2 21 13 0 0 0 Andre Hal 0 0 0 2 49 25 0 0 0 Totals... 3 22 12 6 102 25 2 11 11 ALL PURPOSE Rush Rcv KR PR IR Total Pead, Isaiah 149 15 0 -1 0 163 ABERNATHY, RD 0 0 120 0 0 120 Winn, George 78 0 0 0 0 78 Kelce, Travis 0 29 0 0 0 29 ROBINSON, A. 0 16 0 0 0 16 Chisum, Alex 0 12 0 0 0 12 MCCLUNG, A. 4 8 0 0 0 12 Temple, Nick 0 0 0 0 12 12 CHEATHAM, C. 0 0 0 0 5 5 TEAM -2 0 0 0 0 -2 Collaros, Zach -8 0 0 0 0 -8 Totals... 221 80 120 -1 17 437 ALL PURPOSE Rush Rcv KR PR IR Total Zac Stacy 57 11 9 0 0 77 Chris Boyd 0 69 0 0 0 69 Jordan Matthews 0 56 0 0 0 56 Andre Hal 0 0 49 0 0 49 Jordan Rodgers 33 0 0 0 0 33 Steven Clarke 0 0 23 0 0 23 Jonathan Krause 0 0 0 22 0 22 Eric Samuels 0 0 21 0 0 21 Brandon Barden 0 20 0 0 0 20 Richard Kent 17 0 0 0 0 17 Larry Smith 17 0 0 0 0 17 Wesley Tate 0 12 0 0 0 12 Casey Hayward 0 0 0 0 11 11 Jerron Seymour 5 0 0 0 0 5 TEAM -2 0 0 0 0 -2 Totals... 127 168 102 22 11 430 FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS MILIANO, Tony 3rd 13:27 41 yards Missed MILIANO, Tony 4th 14:41 44 yards Good MILIANO, Tony 4th 03:58 39 yards Blocked FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS Ryan Fowler 4th 00:24 35 yards Good KICKOFFS No. Yds TB OB Avg. Miliano, Tony 2 109 0 0 54.5 O'Donnell, Pat 4 268 0 0 67.0 KICKOFFS No. Yds TB OB Avg. Carey Spear 4 260 2 0 65.0 FUMBLES: Cincinnati-PEAD, Isaiah 2-0; Collaros, Zach 1-0. Vanderbilt-Andre Hal 1-0; Eric Samuels 1-1.
Defensive Statistics (Final) 
2011 Cincinnati Football 
Cincinnati vs Vanderbilt (12/31/11 at Memphis, Tenn.)

## Cincinnati Solo Ast Total TFL/Yds FF FR-Yds Int-Yds BrUp Blkd Sack/Yds QBH 37 SCHAFFER, JK 5 4 9 1.0/6 . . . . . 1.0/6 . 43 Temple, Nick 3 5 8 0.5/2 1 . 1-12 . . . . 95 Wolfe, Derek 5 1 6 2.0/4 . . . . . . . 26 Frey, Drew 3 3 6 . . . . 2 . . . 4D Bomar, Maalik 3 3 6 . . . . . . . . 24 RICHARDSON, W. . 5 5 . . . . . . . . 20 WILLIAMS, Chris 2 2 4 . . . . . . . . 1D Drane, Deven 2 1 3 . . . . 1 . . . 40 Hughes, John 2 1 3 . . . . . . . . 23 Pead, Isaiah 2 . 2 . . . . . . . . 21 CHEATHAM, C. 2 . 2 . . . 1-5 1 . . . 84 Woodard, Orion 1 1 2 . . 1-0 . . . . . 99 Giordano, Dan 1 1 2 0.5/1 . . . . . . . 58 Mills, Brandon 1 1 2 1.0/1 . . . . . 1.0/1 . 8D Witty, Adrian 1 1 2 . . . . . . . . 54 STEWART, Walter . 2 2 . . . . . . . . 32 Winn, George 1 . 1 . . . . . . . . 96 DeTemple, Tom 1 . 1 . . . . . . . . 52 JACKSON, Dwight . 1 1 . . . . . . . .
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