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Cincinnati Bearcats 31 Vanderbilt 24 | 2011 Liberty Bowl Champs

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10 wins. Did you really expect 10 wins from this team after last years numerate struggles? I didn't. I saw it as a distant possibility if everything broke the Bearcats way. That didn't happen. It did for a while. Then Zach Collaros got injured and things got a little bit weird. It took some time, but the Bearcats rebounded from the shock of that injury to go 2-1 in his three games out and clinch a share of the Big East crown.

The bottom line is that while Vanderbilt played in by far the tougher conference and played with an intensity honed from 8 weeks of being usually over matched physically, making up the deficit by playing and letting everything hang out. The interesting thing about today's game is that it heightened just how bright the future could be for this group of players. Nick Temple had the interception that effectively sealed the game in the fourth quarter. Ralph Abernathy came up large with a big kickoff return for a TD that shifted momentum in the Bearcats favor, permanently. Eric Lefeld was, for my money, the best lineman on the field. Those are true freshmen making big plays in a big game in a huge way. This was a group of young guys stepping up and winning a game for their seniors. This was a big win and a game that summarized why I loved the way this team continued to play hard. That's all I got Bearcat fans. Go out and enjoy New Years Eve. I will have more on this game tomorrow.

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