It wasn't just the opponent that got my attention, Miami is always a big game because it's a rivalry but it's the way that the Cats dismantled the Redhawks from the beginning that really got to me. Just 25 seconds into the game and the Cats were up 7-0, that would set the tone for the rest of the night.
The offense was back to last years' form racking up 609 yards of total offense and Collaros was an efficient 14-17 passing for 216 yds. and 3 TD's. What is so huge about that stat is that Collaros never ran the ball once. He stayed in the pocket and found the open receivers making good decisions with the ball. It also helps that your running back, Isaiah Pead rushed for 199 yds. on just 10 carries. With this type of production, the Cats are going to be very tough to beat.
Now armed with an offense that can score points, it allows the defense to stay off the field, play less plays and it gives them time to start coming together as a unit. A stat that may be misleading is that UC ranks 8th in the nation against the run, allowing just under 85 yds. per game. The problem is that UC is also ranked 111th against the pass which means that teams throw it more because they can be more successful through the air. No question that has to get better game by game if the Cats are going to win the league.
It took four games but this team is starting to get it. The younger players are starting to gain confidence the more they play and the veterans are starting to lead by example instead of talking. Next up though is a very confident and cocky Louisville unit armed with their new coach Charlie Strong and their arrogant and annoying fan base. This is the battle for the Keg of Nails but more importantly, it's for bragging rights, recruiting and all the little stuff in between.
Should be another chance for the Cats to improve on their last two games. Again the question will be asked, which team will show up in Louisville? The team that started the season playing terrible or the confident mistake free team that is currently playing.
I really think that Coach Jones had to really evaluate what he was trying to do and decided to go back to what has made the Cats great, throwing the football. There will be a steady diet of the running game but through the air is what strikes fear in all of UC's remaining opponents.
You can tell that this UC team hates to lose and if Coach Jones is saying that the team is having great practices, then all of us must believe him because look at the results on the field. I have always been of the opinion and the mindset that you play how you practice. If you are giving 50% effort in practice, then you are going to get 50% effort in the game.
I am very happy that Coach Jones did not lose this team and also very happy that he did not try and sacrifice this season in order to run his agenda. That says alot about his character because most coaches wouldn't have the want or desire to keep things the way they use to be. That is the mark of a good head coach.
Now I have seen this team look very bad to looking very good over the course of last month and this month but it will be all down the drain if the Cats cant beat U of L on Friday night. Every week with this team the theme should be what can we improve on to make us a better team? To me it's fairly simple: score points, play good defense, cut out the mistakes, force turnovers and pass/ run the ball effectively.
I don't usually predict games but I'm going to predict a 31-14 UC win. U of L has gotten a little better under Charlie Strong but he doesnt have the horses that he had while at Florida.