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October 19, 2007
Game Breakdown: Bearcats vs Panthers
WHEN UC HAS THE BALL
On the way to racking up over 450 yards against Louisville, the Bearcats forgot to protect the football on the way to the end zone. They need to avoid those mistakes against a Pitt defense that has had a bad three weeks. UConn, Virginia and Navy have combined for 126 points on the way to three consecutive Panther defeats.
Ben Mauk had a decent game against UL, and a few costly drops hurt his statistical performance. The 45 passes are the most he has thrown in his college career, and I will have an eye on how his arm responds this week. After a slow start to the season Dominick Goodman has become the big play threat I expected coming in to the season. To me that shows teams are now forced to respect Marcus Barnett and Marshawn Gilyard [/db].
The Bearcats offensive line still has a lot of room for improvement. When they lost Trevor Canfield in the 1st half last week, the unit really struggled to replace his presence. Pass protection needs to improve, but they have been solid in the running game. I expect to see a lot more of the ground attack Saturday.
WHEN PITT HAS THE BALL
The Panthers have an extremely talented true freshman back in LeSean McCoy . He's an explosive runner between the tackles, and can get the ball to the perimeter and bust a big play. He'll be running in to the teeth of a Cats defense that is allowing only 86 yards a game on the ground. If McCoy is bottled up, the Panthers are in trouble.
Freshman Pat Bostick has been settling in to the starting QB roll after taking over for injured starter Ben Stull. Bostick has a good arm, but his mobility is very limited. If and when he is pressured, he tends to force things, and that has led to 6 interceptions already in only 101 attempts.
The Panthers are still looking for consistency at wide out after losing star Derrick Kinder in the preseason. They have averaged only 188 yards a game in the air and leading receiver Oderick Turner is providing 50 yards a contest.
All conference road games are tough, and the Bearcats are 0-2 against the Panthers in Big East play. However, I'd can't see any way to pick against the Bearcats when you break down this game. The defense will stop the run, and if Pitt is one dimensional they are in a world of trouble. Look for the Bearcats to take control of this one on the ground early before they go to the air to put it away.
Prediction: UC 38 Pitt 17