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Rutgers at Cincinnati: Getting to know the Bearcats

If you're looking for a rivalry and a battle for a Big East championship, you've come to to the right place.

Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE

Saturday's game between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Cincinnati Bearcats is important.

It's important for Rutgers, but, if we all stop and think about it for a second, it might be even more important for Cincinnati.

The Bearcats have just one loss in the Big East, and a victory over No. 22 Rutgers on Saturday afternoon would force the two into a first-place tie in the league with just two games remaining in the regular season.

The Scarlet Knights (4-0, 8-1) want to win this weekend, obviously. It's just that Cincinnati will be the ones standing in their way.

"They have a very impressive team, as well-coached a team as I think there is in our conference, and I think around the country, a very well-balanced team," Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said in his weekly press conference. "It's a Big East championship game that we are really excited about as a program."

The Bearcats boast one of the most balanced squads in the Big East, averaging around 34 points per game while giving up less than 20 every time they take the field.

Fresh off last week's dominant 34-10 victory over Temple, the Bearcats are confident in their ability to move the ball, especially against a defense as stingy as Rutgers.

Senior quarterback Brendon Kay threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns, going 13-for-21, in the victory.
Kay, who replaced starter Munchie Legaux under center two weeks ago, didn't throw a single interception while leading the Bearcats offense on scoring drives of 74, 75, 80, 94 and 71 yards.

Despite the change Kay is falling into his leadership role in stride and the Scarlet Knights aren't taking his game-time inexperience for granted.

"It's the same offense," Flood said. "They certainly had confidence in Brendon that he could do the job, and he did a great job last week."

It isn't just Kay the Scarlet Knights defenders - led by the reigning Big East defender of the year Khaseem Greene - will have to prepare for.

George Winn has racked up 980 yards and nine touchdowns on 173 carries this season and against a Rutgers squad that ranks in the top 25 nationally in five major defensive statistical categories.

Whether the attack comes in the air or on the ground, the Scarlet Knights know they have their work cut out for them on Saturday afternoon.

With an undefeated road record to their name so far this season, Rutgers knows full well that the Bearcats are coming into this weekend's game with the sole desire to put that first notch in the loss column.

"Our job this week is to be 1-0," Flood said. "We want to be 1-0 this week at Cincinnati. But any of those generalizations we'll look back at the end of the year and see what we're happy with and what we're not."