-This is the biggest question on UC fan's minds. After suffering two straight tough losses, what does this team need to do to get back on track, and how can they do it? I think it starts with the offense, specifically the running game. At this point in the season, you begin to understand the strengths of your offense, and with this team, it's the running game. George Winn and Ralph Abernathy IV are the go-to players for the Bearcats. They consistently put up numbers, and more importantly, don't turn the ball over. If Cincinnati can get their rushing attack going early, they can settle into a flow offensively and let their passing attack manage the game, as opposed to forcing quarterback Munchie Legaux into uncomfortable passing situations. Back to how UC responds; I think they will be fired up for this game. In both of their losses, the Bearcats had chances to win the game, and just did not take advantage. They want to come out and prove that they are still one of the, if not THE, best teams in the Big East.
Question 2: What about Munchie?
-That's the other big question going into the Syracuse game, what can we expect from Munchie Legaux this week? A better performance than last week, I believe. Given his stats, under 50% completion percentage and three interceptions, it shouldn't be that hard. But Legaux is a leader on this team, make no mistake, and he wants to prove that he can still get the job done. Sometimes, players will come out and try to do too much to affect the game, but I believe Legaux knows he's best when he manages the game, makes smart throws and plays disciplined football. Hopefully he can put that game plan to test on Saturday.
Question 3: Will the defense limit the big plays?
-Louisville's last two touchdowns, the game tying and the go-ahead, were plays of over 30 yards. Both times, the secondary either missed an assignment or missed a tackle, leading to the long touchdowns. Those things cannot happen when nursing a lead, and the Cincinnati defense knows that. In this game, I expect the Bearcats to play a much more disciplined brand of football to try and limit the big plays. The secondary has to step up and make tackles, and they cannot let receivers get behind them. With the loss of Walter Stewart, the defensive line has to have some guys, like Brandon Mills and Jordan Stepp, step up and fill the shoes of the senior leader. It's a tall task, but the defensive line has no other option. We'll see how the defense responds against the Orangemen.
Question 4: Who will step up in the receiving core?
-The Cincinnati wide receivers have been a deep group throughout this 2012 season. Guys like Kenbrell Thompkins, Anthony McClung, Damon Julian, Alex Chisum, Danny Milligan and Travis Kelce have all provided a spark to this unit. However, only once has a receiver stepped up and taken over a game, that distinction belonged to Thompkins with his seven catch, 145-yard performance against Virginia Tech in week four. If one of these guys can step up and give Legaux a safety net of shorts, I believe it will do wonders for his confidence. That guy, I believe, needs to be Thompkins. He seems to be the most physically gifted of the group from an athleticism standpoint, and he's done it once this year. If the number four to number seven connection can gain some steam, I expect the UC passing attack to fair much better come Saturday.