The Cincinnati Bearcats opened their season Saturday with a 72-10 drubbing of non-conference opponent Austin Peay. In an impressive-team effort, quarterback Zach Collaros tossed for 134 yards and four TDs and helped the offense total 500-plus yards. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati defense allowed just 210 yards and forced five turnovers.
This week, the Bearcats have the biggest test out of all eight Big East Conference programs as they travel to the University of Tennessee. It seems the key to victory will be the play of the Bearcats defense and special teams. On Monday, head coach Butch Jones said Cincinnati needs to have better overall fundamentals on defense. Then, on Wednesday, Jones admitted that the team focused a lot on special teams during this week's practice sessions. SB Nation's blog Down The Drive sees the key match up for Saturday as the Volunteers wide receivers against Cincinnati's corner backs.
Opponent preview: Last Saturday, the Volunteers opened their season at home and smoked Montana, 42-16. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray completed 17-of-24 passes for 293 yards and three TDs. Tennessee's offense totaled 439 yards, while the defense, led by senior Malkik Jackson, who was a preseason All-SEC First-Teamer, forced three turnovers. The Volunteers were predicted to finish fourth in the SEC East Division.
Point spread: Cincinnati enters as a six-point underdog.
TV: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN2
Final thoughts: A Cincinnati victory would be huge for the Big East. It looks like a victory for the Bearcats is possible if they play steady defense and put a lot of points on the board.
-- For more on Cincinnati football check out SB Nation's Down The Drive.