Tomorrow represents the last home game of the season for the Cincinnati Bearcats, and also the last home game for the UC seniors. Let’s take a look at the men who are stepping on the field for the last time on Saturday.
Alex Aypan is a redshirt senior. He has not seen a lot of playing time as a Bearcat. He has spent this season as the backup long snapper. 51 snapped the extra point for the 51st point in the opener, which was a nice touch. Alex is known more around this site for his photography. He’s a nice guy to follow on twitter. Aypan brings the smarts to this team. He was nominated for the International Scholar Laureate Program Delegation on Engineering a couple years ago, and has a bright future
academically. Alex is also applying to aerospace graduate programs at Stanford, MIT, Purdue, Georgia Tech, and Cincinnati. He’s got sick chops and he doesn’t quit.
Zach Collaros came to Cincinnati as a 3 star recruit in 2007. After redshirting, Collaros was one of the slew of QBs to play in 2008. He was mainly a special teams player, but had his feet thrown into the fire in the Akron game. Tony Pike went down went UC trailing 15-14. Collaros ran for 18 yards on the drive, getting UC to the Akron 30. That was good enough for Jake Rogers, who nailed the winning kick. Collaros would see 2 more carries against USF and call it a season.
Collaros started his sophomore season as Tony Pike’s backup. He threw 11 passes the first 5 games. When Tony Pike went down against South Florida, Collaros was thrown into the fire. He responded with a 75 yard TD run. He added another TD to cap a 132 yard rushing performance, a career best. Collaros started the next 4 games, all wins. He went 15-17, 253-3 TDs against Louisville, 22-28, 295-4 TDs against Syracuse, then had maybe the best performance of his career against UConn. He hit 29-37 for 480 yards and 1 TD. He ran 13 times for 75 yards and 2 TDs. If you remember, that game was a 47-45 shootout. Collaros started his final game that season against West Virginia, going 17-24, 205 yards and an INT. He went back to the bench, getting 3 carries the rest of the season, many in the red zone.
Zach became the starter last season. He earned first team All Big East honors with a 2,902 yard, 26 TD,14 INT season. He ran for 208 yards and 4 TDs. He lit up NC State and Oklahoma for 310 and 305 yards, with 3 TDs in both. He threw for all 5 TDs in the win over Louisville, his career high. He followed that with a career best 463 yard game against USF. He struggled in 3 of the last 4 games, throwing 9 INTs to 2 TDs, but in the middle of that he had a 25-39, 366 yard, 4 TD game against Rutgers.
Collaros came into this season primed for a big year. After a modest opening 3 games, despite a 4 TD performance in the opener, he hit 25-34 for 263 and 2 TDs, while running for 53 yards and 2 TDs in a win over NC State. Collaros didn’t put up flashy stats, but he led the team to wins. His best game of the season came against South Florida. He threw for 383 yards and 3 TDs, while running in 2 more, including the game winner. That performance was more impressive after word broke before the game he was stolen by ghosts. Collaros scored the only UC TDs against Pittsburgh, both rushing, before going down in the first half against West Virginia. He finished the regular season with 1,854 yards, 14 TDs and 8 INTs. There is a chance he may come back for a bowl game, but it’s looking like his UC career is over. A fine career it was.
Davis has started every game for the Bearcats this season at center. The former 2 star recruit spent his first 3 seasons getting spot duty as a reserve. He started the season opener a year ago against Fresno State. He’s been a steady influence on the line this season. Evan is an example of a guy developing for 4 years and taking advantage of his chance.
Tom is the long snapper for the Bearcats. He was the backup long snapper for most of his career. He’s learned the craft very well. He puts the ball on the hands of Pat O’Donnell every time. That’s pretty much all you can ask for from a long snapper. He had a very solid season. Good work.
Reuben is a walk on from Mount Healthy. He didn’t play in 2008, but the past 3 seasons he’s been a special teams player. He made 3 tackles as a sophomore, 2 as a junior. Haley has broken out for 8 tackles this season. He’s an invaluable asset on special teams.
Steve Hancock is a reserve defensive lineman. He’s played in 14 games his UC career. 8 of them came last season. He played 4 of first 5 games of this season, registering 2 tackles. He’s got 6 tackles on his career. He got a sack against Louisville in 2009.
Tomaz Hilton came to UC as a 3 star receiver. He was moved to linebacker under Brian Kelly, but like so many others, he was moved back to receiver. He’s been a special teams maven. He put up 11 tackles in 09, 2 last year and has 5 this season, most recently against Rutgers. Hilton is another one of those valuable guys on the return and kickoff teams.
Hoffman was a 2 star recruit when he stepped onto campus. He redshirted in 2007, and has found his way into nearly every game since. He played all 11 as a freshman, starting against Marshall and West Virginia. He started all 13 games for the Sugar Bowl team of 2009. He started all but 2 games last year. He’s come and started every game this year. He started his career at left guard, moved to right guard, finally landing at left tackle. He’s been an important cog in the line for the last 4 years. He’s going to leave a void when he moves on.
Big John Hughes was a 3 start recruit as a tight end out of high school. He took a year to redshirt and get used to the defensive line. His first season he started 1 game, but was more a rotation player. he finished with 20 tackles and 2 sacks. He also forced the only fumble of his career. In 09, he started the opener, but was back to spot duty. He responded with 23 tackles and 2 more sacks. He had 6 TFLs that season. As a junior, he stepped into the starting lineup. He made 47 tackles, 4.5 for loss. He recovered a fumble. Hughes kept his starting job as a senior. He’s produced very well this season on a solid line. He’s made 39 tackles with 8.5 of them being for loss. He’s got a career best 4 sacks. He’s been playing very well lately. Hughes is one of the reasons the UC line has been so hard to run on the past few seasons.
The big man from New Jersey was a 2 star recruit. He came to UC and redshirted his first year. His career started off a little slowly, as he was the understudy to Trevor Canfield as a freshman. He saw action in 5 games in 2009 as well. It wasn’t until last season that he got his shot to be in the starting lineup. He was put in at left guard following the Fresno State sack party and hasn’t left. He’s the leader of the line, as he’s the one who calls out signals. If that’s wrong, I apologize, but I’m certain it’s true. Randy has been a very solid guard, one of the most underrated in the league. Plus, his nickname is McSaucy, which is bad ass. You can’t just be anyone and be called McSaucy. Randy is one of the nicest Bearcats on twitter. He represents the school well. He’s going to be missed.
Isaiah Pead was a 3 star recruit when he arrived on campus from Columbus. He was buried at the bottom of the depth chart as the season opened, only getting 1 carry the first 4 games. Eventually he got a chance. In his first extended action against Marshall, he ran for 59 yards on 11 carries. He caught a pass the next week against UConn before going back on the bench for 4 games. Pead got 8 carries for 49 yards in a win over Syracuse, and the next week got 8 carries for 74 yards in the win over Rutgers. Pead got 2 carries in the Virginia Tech loss in the Orange Bowl. You could see his potential peaking through.
As a sophomore, Pead was the backup behind Jacob Ramsay. I still remember the screen pass he caught and took for a score against Rutgers in the opener. He scored his first TD on the first drive. He had 99 total yards in that win. He would run for 46 yards and another score at Oregon State, a game where he threw in 39 receiving yards. Pead had his first 100 total yard game against Miami before having another 2 weeks later against Louisville. He had 88 yards on 6 carries for 2 scores and a 15 yard TD catch against the Cards. He broke out for 77 against UConn and 67 and 2 TDs against Syracuse. His biggest game was an 18 carry, 175 yard, 1 TD performance against West Virginia. Pead followed that with -5 yards against Illinois. A high followed by a low. Pead ran for 76 and a score in the memorable Pitt game, and finished out the year with 48 yards in the Sugar Bowl.
Pead was the man for his junior season, but had 36 yards against Fresno State and got hurt, missing 2 games. He came back in a huge way. He ran for 169 against Oklahoma. He ran for 197 yards and a score against Miami on 10 carries. 10 carries. He followed that up with 145 against Louisville. Pead had a couple of down games before a 78 yard, 1 TD performance against West Virginia. The best performance of his career was next. Pead ran all over the Rutgers defense for 213 yards and 4 TDs, while catching 2 passes for 36 yards and another TD. It’s the highlight reel Isaiah Pead game. He barely touched the ball the following week. He finished up the year with over 100 total yards against Pittsburgh.
This season Isaiah Pead has been a special player to watch. He’s the heartbeat of the offense. He’s a tremendous amount of fun to watch and I’m really going to miss seeing him on the field. I know UC has a ton of young backs with potential, but around these parts, guys like Pead rarely come along. He took his first touch this year for a TD. He took his first carry against Tennessee to the house. He had 123 or so of his 155 yards when that was a game. He scored a TD against Akron in a game where he didn’t have to do much. He bounced back with 167 yards and a score against NC State. He caught a receiving TD in that game as well. Pead was held to 49 (with 2 TDs) against Miami, and was off to a slow start against Louisville. But he had a 50 yard run to put the Bearcats out in front for good, and ran out the clock, finishing with 151 yards. Pead had over 100 total yards in the USF win, with a receiving TD thrown in. He got 118 yards against Pitt, but ended his TD streak. It restarted against West Virginia, where he had 113 yards, 2 scores and 67 receiving yards. Pead only got 14 touches in the Rutgers loss, so UC made up for it by getting his hands on everything. Pead returned punts for 52 yards. Pead had 17 carries for 80 yards and a score. Pead caught 9 passes for 112 yards and a score. He did it all. He’s a special player.
Ben Pooler is a transfer from Maryland. He jumped into the starting spot at linebacker. He got 5 tackles in the opener against Austin Peay. He racked up 3 against Tennessee and Akron. He started losing time to Nick Temple and UC’s nickle coverages. Then he got hurt during or after the Louisville game. He hasn’t played since. Ben Pooler, we hardly knew ye.
Shane “Pop” Popham is a transfer from Wake Forest. He competed for the kicking job, but lost out to Tony Miliano. Popham has gotten a chance to get on the field and make some kicks though. He hit 2 extra points against Austin Peay. He hit 1 against Akron to probably finish his UC career perfect. He booted a pair of kickoffs against Austin Peay that averaged 57.5 yards. I don’t know if that’s good or not, but it’s definitely an average.
Richardson spent his first two seasons on special teams. He made 9 tackles on the 2008 squad. In 2009, he got in the secondary some as well as staying on special teams. He made 21 tackles that season and forced a fumble. He moved into the starting lineup last year. He had 7 tackles against NC State. Richardson also recovered a pair of fumbles in that game. Richardson followed that up with a 6 tackle performance against OU. He had 7 stops against West Virginia, and 5 againstUConn. He picked off a pair of passes, 1 against West Virginia and 1 against Rutgers. This season, Richardson has started every game. he made 9 tackles against Tennessee. He had 6 stops against NC State. Richardson had 8 tackles against USF and 9 against Rutgers. Wes had 5 tackles and his first INT of the season last week against Syracuse. He’s not a coverage maven, but he works hard. He’s a solid player.
Big catch Adrien Robinson was a 3 star recruit from Indianapolis. He redshirted in 2007 before stepping on the field in 2008. He caught only 1 pass for 12 yards in sparse playing time. That one catch was against Oklahoma. 2009 is when he started his big catch ways. He had only 10, but had 174 yards and a score. He caught a 54 yarder in the wild UConn game. Last season, he played in 9 games. He had only 6 catches for 65 yards, but one of them was a TD. This season, Robinson has brought home 7 passes for 152 yards and 3 scores. He caught a 74 yarder against Miami. You know when the ball is going to 88 big things are poppin.
It’s hard to imagine someone who’s turned himself into a better over his career than JK Schaffer. He came in as a 2 star recruit from LaSalle. He’s going to leave as one of the best linebackers in the Big East. He’s not the biggest, he’s not the fastest, but he busts his ass and gives it all he has every play, every game. He came in as a special teams ace, making 12 tackles and forcing a fumble. In 2009, JK stepped into the starting lineup in game 2 and has been a mainstay ever since. That season he racked up 100 tackles, which was second on the team. That team made a lot of tackles. He picked off 3 passes, which included a big one against Rutgers. He picked off a pass against Miami in the end zone. His monster game was a 14 tackle performance against Illinois. He finished with 9 against Pitt and 10 against Florida.
In 2010, Schaffer took the lead in tackles with 111. He brought down 9 against Indiana State before going crazy the next 2 games. He had a career best 16 tackles against NC State. That was followed up by 13 tackles and his only pick of the year against Oklahoma. Schaffer had 9 tackles and forced a fumble against Syracuse. He would match his career high of 16 tackles against West Virginia. He had 9 solo tackles that game, which is still a career best. He followed that up with 2 sacks against Rutgers, 9 tackles against UConn and 10 against Pittsburgh. A tremendous season.
JK was named the captain of the defense for this season. He more than earned the honor. If Pead is the heart of the offense, Schaffer is the heart and brains of the defense. He’s the leader that everyone follows. And he leads by example. He started off the year with an INT and 2 breakups. He made 12 tackles against Tennessee. He had another INT against Akron. He got number 3 and 9 tackles in the win against NC State. That started a dominant run by JK. He made 7 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 sack, 1 blocked kick for a TD against Miami. He had 11 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack against Louisville. He had 8 tackles and a fumble recovery against USF. He made 13 stops against Pittsburgh. JK had 9 tackles against West Virginia, 2 for loss. He was everywhere against Rutgers, making 13 tackles, 3 for loss, with 1.5 sacks. JK had just 5 tackles against Syracuse, but forced a fumble. The man has given it all he’s got. It’s paid off.
Taylor was a 2 star JUCO transfer. He landed at defensive end. He’s played in every game of his UC career. He didn’t make much of an impact in 2010 until the West Virginia game. There he made 4 tackles, 2 for loss and got his first career sack. He had only 7 tackles on the season. This year he’s made 16 tackles. He’s been a rush end, who’s done a nice job. He’s got 3.5 sacks, getting them against NC State, Miami, Louisville and USF. He’s forced fumbles against Austin Peay, NC State and USF. He’s been a nice addition for the defensive line’s depth.
Trigg arrived on campus from Dayton as a 2 star prospect. He jumped on the field as a freshman. He played in 6 games, making 3 tackles. Trigg had the same role in 2008, playing in 6 games. He made 4 tackles. He started off 2009 very well with 6 tackles, 2.5 for loss, in the first 2 games, but got hurt and missed the rest of the season. He was redshirted. He played in 9 games last year, only recording 4 tackles. This season however, Trigg has made an impact. The month of November Trigg shined. He had a TFL against Pitt. He had 4 tackles, 1.5 TFL and his first career sack and forced fumble against Rutgers. Trigg had another sack and forced fumble this week against Syracuse. Big Rob is closing in style. Note, I always want to write Robb Trigg because of the double g’s at the end. That’s his legacy.
Wolfe was a 2 star recruit from Lisbon, but he’s turned himself into an NFL prospect. He’s the muscle of the Cincinnati defense. He started his career slowly, as a backup. He got his first sack on the final play against Syracuse in 2008. Since then, he’s been a starter. He was second on the 2009 team with 5 sacks. He made 41 tackles, and had 8 TFL. Wolfe made 48 tackles last season, but was third on the team with 4 sacks. His reputation proceeded him, and he was double teamed a lot. This year Wolfe has been unblockable. He’s made a career best 54 tackles. He’s got a team best 7 sacks. He got 2 against Akron and 2 against Pittsburgh. He’s forced fumbles against Austin Peay and Akron. He’s made 14.5 TFL this season. He had 3 against Louisville, 2 against Pitt and 2.5 against West Virginia. Like Schaffer, Wolfe has turned himself into a player who could hear his name called in the NFL draft next year. He’s gonna be a tough act for whoever has to follow.
Woodard came to Cincinnati from Pompton Lakes, New Jersey as a 3 star recruit. While he hasn’t quite done it at his recruited position of receiver, just 3 catches in his career, he’s been a 5 star recruit on special teams. Some guys embrace the role and excel, and that’s what Woodard has done. He made just 12 tackles his first 2 seasons, but the last 2 he’s been the master of special teams. He made 12 tackles as a junior. As a senior, he’s made 20. That’s more than Monte Taylor. Woodard had his finest hour against Syracuse. He covered kicks like an all pro, making 4 tackles. He had great games against Pittsburgh, 3 tackles, and Louisville, 4 tackles (3 were assisted tackles) as well. It’s not every day a team has a special teams dynamo on their side. I worry about special teams, but Orion Woodard has put my fears to rest. Kid can play.
DJ Woods was a 3 star recruit from Strongsville, Ohio. He stepped on the field right away. His first game he had -2 yards, which was a bad start. He caught the occasional pass before getting 4 for 67 in a 13-10 win over Rutgers. Woods caught 3-30 against USF, then went back to the occasional catch. DJ returned the occasional punt, breaking a 40 yarder against UConn and a 20 yarder against Hawaii.
Woods stepped into a bigger role his sophomore season. he had 71 yards against Rutgers, but had his breakout game a couple weeks later. In the 28-18 win over Oregon State, DJ caught 7 passes for 117 yards and his first TD. He followed that up with 53 against Fresno State. Woods had 5-68 against UConn in the shootout, before reaching the end zone again against West Virginia. He had 7-53-1 TD against Illinois, and 7-61-1 TD against Pittsburgh. He finished with 46 yards against Florida. Woods was turning into a weapon.
DJ Woods was one of the better receivers in the Big East last year. He had 57-898-8 TDs, while returning punts 7.7 a pop and kicks 22 yards a pop. He did it all. His 154.9 all purpose average showed it. Woods started strong with 6-72 and a score against Fresno. He had a huge game against NC State with 6-146-2 TDs, a career high. He followed that with a monster 7-171-1 TD game against Oklahoma. It’s a shame his fumble is mainly all that’s remembered from his performance that night. Woods scored his first rushing TD the next week against Miami. That was followed by a 2 catch, 61 yard, 2 TD performance against Louisville. Woods exploded for 9 catches, a career high, and 137 yards against USF. That would be his last 100 yard receiving day. Woods caught the only score against Syracuse. He had 6-97-1 TD against Rutgers, with 50 rushing yards and a TD mixed in. He finished the year with 3 catches for 26 yards the last 2 games. A sour taste.
A sour taste is what must be in DJ’s mouth going into his final home game. He’s had a miserable senior season. He’s lost his role as punt returner. He was supposed to be the top receiver, but was supplanted by Kenbrell Thompkins and Anthony McClung. He’s been kind of an afterthought. That’s surprising going off how he started the season. He had 4-59 for a TD and 24 rushing yards in the opener. He followed that with 9-111 against Tennessee. He would get roughly that much the next 4 games, which included being shut out against Miami. Woods caught a TD against Louisville, his last one of the season so far. He had 6 catches against USF, but only 39 yards. he caught a 44 yard pass against Pittsburgh, and a 29 yarder last week. Let’s hope tomorrow ends better for DJ.
Those are your Cincinnati seniors. Bearcats Blog wishes them all the best on Saturday. Hopefully their senior day is full of good memories for a lifetime. And a Big East co-championship. Thank you for all that you have sacrificed and accomplished.It’s very much appreciated.