Cincinnati Bearcats Football: Report Card Grades for the Syracuse Game

Alex Callos@@alexcallosCorrespondent INovember 28, 2011

Cincinnati Bearcats Football: Report Card Grades for the Syracuse Game

0 of 9

    After taking a huge step back in their road loss to Rutgers, the Bearcats rebounded nicely to defeat Syracuse, 30-13, and stay in the race for the Big East title. 

    Sophomore quarterback Munchie Legaux had a much easier day in his second career start. 

    The game plan was much better for Cincinnati, and now. they find themselves battling for the Big East title with Louisville and West Virginia. 

    The Bearcats return home for their first game at Nippert Stadium since September, and with a win, have a shot at a BCS bowl game. 

    Here are position-by-position grades for the Syracuse game. 


1 of 9

    Instead of only allowing Syracuse to prepare for one quarterback, the Bearcats utilized two, and it worked to their advantage. 

    Munchie Legaux started the game and played all but three drives. 

    He finished 13-of-22 passing for 169 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. 

    Fellow sophomore Jordan Luallen came in for three drives and moved the ball nicely, running a version of the Wildcat offense. 

    He carried the ball eight times for 77 yards and also completed two of three passes for 10 yards. 

    The combination did everything that was asked of them and filled in admirably for the injured Zach Collaros. 

    Overall grade: B+

Running Back

2 of 9

    After starting the game off slow, Isaiah Pead came on strong in the second half and proved how valuable he is to the Bearcats. 

    He scored two big second half touchdowns to seal the game for Cincinnati. 

    Pead finished with 80 yards rushing and a touchdown on 17 carries. He also caught nine passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. 

    His 24-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage of the second half gave Cincinnati a 17-6 lead. 

    Midway through the fourth quarter, Pead caught a short pass and took it 69 yards to the house to give the Bearcats a 30-13 lead and seal the victory. 

    Overall grade: A-

Wide Receiver

3 of 9

    With Pead hauling in nine of the 15 passes caught, there was not much left for the receivers. 

    D.J. Woods led the way with two receptions for 36 yards, and fellow receiver Kenbrell Thompkins had two catches for 21 yards. 

    Freshman Alex Chisum had one eight-yard reception, and tight end Travis Kelce had a two-yard touchdown reception late in the first half to put Cincinnati ahead for good.

    While the numbers for the receivers have gone down considerably since the injury to Zach Collaros, this is still just an average performance no matter who is throwing them the football.  

    Overall grade: C

Offensive Line

4 of 9

    The offensive line was solid throughout the game. 

    They did a good job of opening up holes for Isaiah Pead, who averaged nearly five yards per carry. 

    The group also did a good job giving Munchie Legaux time to throw the ball and did not allow a sack the entire game. 

    This was a huge improvement from last week and one of the best games the group has had in a while.

    Overall grade: A-

Defensive Line

5 of 9

    The Bearcats defensive line was dominant from start to finish. 

    The group finished with three sacks as a whole, and while they did allow 191 yards rushing, they consistently got decent pressure on Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib.

    Ends Walter Stewart and Dan Giordano were consistently in the backfield wreaking havoc. 

    Overall grade: B


6 of 9

    While J.K. Schaffer has been steady all season long, Maalik Bomar is coming into his own as the season has progressed. 

    Bomar had a sack against Syracuse and finished the game with five tackles, including two for loss and one quarterback hurry. 

    Schaffer had five tackles and a forced fumble on the day. 

    Overall grade: B


7 of 9

    The secondary held Ryan Nassib to only 203 yards passing on 19-of-38 with one touchdown and one interception. 

    Cornerback Deven Drane, who has seen more playing time since the injury to Dominique Battle, had eight tackles.

    Safety Drew Frey had five tackles, including one for loss, and fellow cornerback Wesley Richardson also had five tackles and added an interception.

    Overall grade: B+ 

Special Teams

8 of 9

    Kick return man Ralph Abernathy IV had one of the biggest special teams plays of the year when he took the opening kickoff of the second half 74 yards to set up an Isaiah Pead touchdown on the next play, which put the Bearcats ahead for good.

    Kicker Tony Miliano missed on his first attempt of the game, but hit his next three.

    Punter Pat O'Donnell averaged 54 yards on four punts, including a long of 61.

    Overall grade: B+ 


9 of 9

    Butch Jones came into this game with a much better game plan than he did against Rutgers. 

    Throwing Jordan Luallen in for a few drives on offense was very beneficial for the Bearcats and helped keep Syracuse off-balance throughout. 

    Short passes to Isaiah Pead proved to be the answer, as he caught nine of the 15 completions on the day.

    It gave Legaux the confidence he needed.  

    Jones certainly had one of his best coaching days to date at Cincinnati. 

    Overall grade: A