Cincinnati, Tennessee looking for quality win

Justin Wilcox: Looking back on Montana, forward to Cincinnati

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Jim Chaney: What the Vols need to improve before Cincinnati

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Nothing will erase the frustration of how Cincinnati fared last season. A win over a storied Southeastern Conference program could go a long way toward proving the Bearcats are back on track to compete for a Big East title.

"I think it is instant credibility, when you go in and you play a team or a program like Tennessee that has great tradition and great backing and great fan support," Cincinnati coach Butch Jones said. "I'm looking forward to it because I think it's a great measuring stick of where we are, where we need to improve and where we need to grow as a program. But when you play a program like Tennessee, it is a lot of credibility behind that name."

Cincinnati went from winning back-to-back league titles and trips to the Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl in coach Brian Kelly's three seasons to finishing 4-8 in 2010, Jones' first season at the helm.

Tennessee's struggles have been on par with the Bearcats, and the Volunteers could also use a win to be proud of.

Once regular contenders for SEC championships, the Vols have gone through two coaching turnovers in the past three years and have stumbled into bowl games during the last two seasons thanks largely to wins over opponents with losing records. Tennessee finished 6-7 in a 2010 season that was punctuated by an overtime loss to North Carolina in the Music City Bowl.

"I think this is going to be a big game for (the Bearcats)," Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said. "They had a tough season last year and this is probably an early monumental game in their eyes to keep their program at the level it's been. We're going to get their best, there's no question. They're going to be revved up and ready to go."

Tennessee (1-0) may be a five-point favorite heading into Saturday's game against Cincinnati, but the Bearcats (1-0) appear to be anything but a mismatched foe after posting a Football Bowl Subdivision-best 72 points last week in their opening win against Austin Peay. The Bearcats' offense also has Dooley a bit worried.

"Their offense is one of those nightmare offenses, because they've got a great quarterback who was all-conference, they spread the field and generate numbers by doing so, and they have a fabulous running back who had over 1,000 yards (last year) and has a lot of speed," Dooley said. "This is a very good football team coming in, and we'll see where our team is."

The Bearcats' spread starts with dual-threat quarterback Zach Collaros and tailback Isaiah Pead, though 12 different players contributed to the team's 387 yards rushing against Austin Peay. Collaros was accurate in the air, too, completing 12-of-19 for 134 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.

It's a performance that's had them feeling pretty confident while preparing for a young Vols defense that started three true freshmen last week.

"We don't really look at it as us going to play Tennessee, (but) as Tennessee hosting us and we're going to put on a show and they are, too," Pead said. "They have great athletes, great players, and I think we might have a little bit more though. We're going to see what's going to happen."

The Bearcats could have their hands full in trying to contain Tennessee's passing game. Tyler Bray led SEC quarterbacks last week with 293 yards on 17-of-24 passing and had three touchdowns, his seventh straight game with multiple TD passes. Justin Hunter led SEC wide receivers with 146 yards receiving and caught an 81-yard touchdown pass from Bray.

The Vols' running game is cause for concern after picking up only 128 yards on 46 carries against a mediocre Montana defense. They'll need more balance against an experienced Cincinnati defense.

"What I know is that they return all 11 starters on their D," wide receiver Zach Rogers said. "They're old now and they had kind of a rebuilding year last year but from what I've seen so far, they look like a veteran team and know what they're doing. We'll have our work cut out for us."

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Comments » 8

jobrando#216494 writes:

HaHa----Montana could whip them.....The VOLS will show just enough for a good whipping...Got to keep some hidden for the lizzards next week.

Vol86 writes:

Who ever wrote this junk should realize most team's wins come over teams with loosing records or everyone should have a winning record.

gbojrj writes:

Tenn 42 Cincin 35

gbojrj writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

To paraphrase Mr Manning, you only get nervous if you are not prepared. The Vols will be prepared.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

This weekend, try to do or say something that might lead "Mama" to actually think something about you is actually precious.

gbojrj writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It doesn't take much thinking to deal with your IQ level. All I suggested was I'm not "nervous" about Cincin, or Fla for that matter. Keep it real dude...after all we are taking about a game. Not life. Relax a bit...

pdhuff#552644 writes:

I'll settle for a W.

Let others decide "quality".

gmoss10see#236665 writes:

It really comes down to the O-line. If they can open the holes, we can run. That opens up the passing attack. Execution. Oh yeah, hang onto the football. Go VOLS!

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