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Cincinnati Bearcats 31 Vanderbilt Commodores 24 | Liberty Bowl Box Score Breakdown

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Yesterdays game was a thrilling affair complete with numerate momentum shifts, turnovers galore and some really singularly brilliant performances. Some by old hands, some by new faces. In the end the Bearcats won the game for two really simple reasons. They made the biggest plays when it mattered the most.


  • It would be customary to start with Isaiah Pead in this spot. But lets talk about this Bearcats offensive line. This is a unit that has come so far in 12 months its borderline impossible to believe. Alex Hoffman, Randy Martinez, Evan Davis, Austen Bujnoch and Eric Lefeld took on a defense that was one of the 20 or so best in the country and proceeded to toss them all over the field for most of the day. Prior to yesterday the only team to top 200 yards rushing against that unit was Army, a triple option team that does little but run. UC rushed for 220 yards and two scores yesterday. Those guys dominated and should be singled out for it.
  • iPead. What more can be said that hasn't already been said. Pead went out the right way, reminding everyone that he has officially made good on the immense potential he showed from day one. I am really going to miss Pead next year.
  • Zach Collaros came all the way back and went the distance. The Liberty Bowl was not a vintage performance, and the 2011 season was not a vintage year either. But it was good to see him back in that uniform one more time.
  • George Winn had by far the biggest game of his young career rolling for 78 yards on 6 carries with his singular score. I am not sure if Winn has what it takes to be the featured back in this offense. But as a spot runner and short yardage specialist he has been outstanding all year. That 69 yarder was the culmination of a season spent selling out on special teams and delivering crushing blows as a lead blocker for Isaiah Pead


  • J.K. Schaffer picked up where he left off again. 9 more tackles, a TFL and a Sack. He is leaving a pretty big hole in the bearcats defensive production.
  • But I think I have the guy to fill it. In his 8th start true freshman Nick Temple served notice that he will be a force for this defense for the years to come.8 tackles, .5 TFL a forced fumble and the decisive pick late in the fourth quarter. I think the linebackers will be just fine in 2012.
  • Derek Wolfe went out in style as well picking up two more TFL bringing his single season total to 21.5 which is a lot.
  • I thought that the defensive line dominated the game. Watching it that was the impression I had but the stats don't exactly back that up. Only 2 sacks and 5 TFL, both of which are well off the season pace. Larry Smith changed the complexion of the game for the DL because they were no longer dealing with a stationary target. Smith is a much harder to get on the ground.
  • I though Deven Drane played his best game as a Bearcat. For the most part when he was matched up with Jordan Matthews or Chris Boyd he erased them. Drane is a young guy who caught alot of attention from the NFL types today.

Special Teams

  • I don't know where Ralph Abernathy IV fits into the mix at the running back picture but I do know this, he is going to be the return man for the Bearcats for as long as he wants to do it. The kick return was a thing of beauty.
  • Pat O'Donnell is a weapon for this team. He twice flipped field position in the Bearcats favor during the early portions of the game.
  • Another blocked field goal