Cincinnati vs. Duke: Game-Changers To Watch for in Belk Bowl Matchup

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 26, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 03:  Walter Stewart #54 of the Cincinnati Bearcats celebrates after scoring a touchdown from a fumble recovery against the Connecticut Huskies on December 3, 2011 at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Connecticut 35-27. (Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)
Tyler Barrick/Getty Images

Cincinnati defensive end Walter Stewart may be the top 2013 NFL draft prospect set to showcase his talents Thursday night in Charlotte, N.C., in the Belk Bowl (6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).

But Stewart won't be alone.

There will be a handful of game-changers on display when Cincinnati and Duke clash inside Bank of America Stadium.

Let's take a closer look at a trio of game-changers to keep an eye on Thursday night in Charlotte. 


George Winn, Cincinnati, RB

George Winn has more than quintupled his rushing output from a season ago. After rushing for just 219 yards in his junior season, Winn returned for his senior year in 2012 and rushed for 1,204 yards and 12 touchdowns in 12 games.

At 5'11" and 210 pounds, Winn is averaging 5.3 yards per carry this year.

Although he has rarely been called upon as a receiver out of the backfield this season, Winn is still averaging nearly 10 yards per reception.

Look for a colossal performance from Winn on Thursday, as the back who rushed for 100-plus yards in five games this season faces off against a Duke defense that is surrendering 200 yards per game on the ground.


Jamison Crowder, Duke, WR

Sophomore wide receiver Jamison Crowder may stand just 5'9", but he has a big game.

Crowder caught 70 balls for 1,025 yards and eight touchdowns in 12 games this season. Only 27 wide receivers in college football have more receiving yards this season than Crowder, who is averaging 14.6 yards per reception coming into Thursday's Belk Bowl.

With senior quarterback Sean Renfree looking to beat the Bearcats through the air on Thursday, expect a big night from Crowder. Cincinnati ranks just 74th against the pass this season and is giving up close to 243 passing yards per game.


Greg Blair, Cincinnati, LB

Bearcats linebacker Greg Blair has been a stud defensively for Cincinnati this season. The senior defender leads the team in 2012 with 123 total tackles.

Blair also has 2.5 sacks and two interceptions to go along with his eye-popping tackle numbers. 

The Pittsburgh native has recorded double-digit tackles in seven of 12 games this season and has successfully defended six passes along the way. Those taking in the Belk Bowl on Thursday should watch for Blair to be a major factor against Duke's running and passing games.

Blair is as experienced as college linebackers come these days, and he'll surely have his name called a few times against Cincinnati.


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