In their first home game of the 2010 campaign Cincinnati hosts the rather downtrodden Sycamores. In 2009 ISU went 1-10 overall and 1-7 in the MVC, with that only win coming against Western Illinois. As if winning one game wasn’t enough, that win snapped a 32-game losing streak dating back to Oct. 21, 2006.
The Sycamores were a rather young team the last two seasons and return some pieces from last year.
Junior Ryan Roberts is the teams’ leading returning passer, though he’s listed as a wide receiver. Roberts began his career on the defensive side of the ball before moving to quarterback in his freshman season.
He began his sophomore year as a wide receiver, as the coaches thought his talent, could best benefit the team at wide out, before being moved back to quarterback and went 60-124 for 561 yards and one touchdown.
Roberts is more dangerous running the ball than throwing it, however. In 2009 he ran 88 times for 347 yards (3.9 yards per carry), and 5 touchdowns. He rushed for 160 yards and two scores in the Sycamores only win last year, including breaking off a 91-yard scoring run. He has been considered the best athlete on the team.
Job one for the UC defense will be to contain Roberts on the ground and force him to pass, should he be the quarterback. Last season the Sycamores used four different quarterbacks before giving most of the time to Roberts.
Indiana State is definitely more of a running team than a passing team, though last year they didn’t do either particularly well. The leading returning rusher is senior Antoine Brown who toted the rock 156 times last year for 469 yards, but only one touchdown.
The Bearcats’ defense should have little trouble containing an offense that only put up 7.9 points per game in 2009, and was shut out four times.
Not much of a crystal ball needed to predict the outcome of this game. The two-time defending Big East Champions should easily a team that NCAA Football Fanhouse called “the worst college football team in the country” last year.
Prediction: 58-0. Only because I think Butch Jones will look to get some of the backups some reps and call of the dogs sometime in the third quarter.
Next week: The big matchup vs. Oklahoma.