Senior Day Sweetness

Cincinnati cornerback DeAngelo Smith and the rest of his teammates all have reason to look forward with anticipation to this Saturday. Not only will a win over Syracuse send the Bearcats to a BCS bowl, but it will come on a special day for Smith and the rest of the UC seniors- Senior Day.

"It'll be a great atmosphere," said Smith of Nippert Stadium this weekend. "We've got Cincinnati behind our back."

A grand total of 19 Bearcat seniors will be honored before Cincinnati's noon kickoff with the Syracuse Orangemen.

"There'll be a little bit of a video clip about each one of those guys," said UC head coach Brian Kelly of the pre-game celebration and ceremony that will take place. "There are a lot of seniors, but they're certainly deserving of the honor that they're going to get."

While Smith may have dreamed of one day winning a Big East title when he first came to Cincinnati from Independence High School in Columbus, even in his dreams he didn't see the day coinciding with the day he is to be honored for his services as a Bearcat. That part of the equation adds even more excitement to his dream.

"Well I never imagined on Senior Day, but I was just hoping that one day I would win the Big East championship," says Smith. "It's exciting that it's on senior day, because sometimes guys get a little relaxed on the last couple of games, so now they know we've got the Big East championship to play for, so they're going to play hard. Everybody's going to play hard."

Smith says the thought of a Big East title within reach has caused for a little skip in the step of his teammates in practice this week.

"Everybody knows we're playing for that ring, so everybody's motivated and just ready to play," said Smith Wednesday. "Nobody's been down or lackadaisical. We've all been ready to go, having fun at practice, and just ready to keep it going."

While Saturday will mark as the last time Smith takes the field in a Bearcats uniform, he's quick to mention it certainly won't be his last time in Nippert Stadium.

"In a couple years I'm going to come back here and watch the other guys win another Big East championship, hopefully they can keep it going," said Smith.

After playing in 43 games as a member of the Cincinnati football team, Smith has had his fair share of big and memorable moments. But one in particular stands out as his favorite memory playing in Nippert Stadium.

November 18th, 2006. The Scarlett Knights of Rutgers came into town as the number seven-ranked team in the nation. Just over five minutes into the second quarter, Smith intercepted a Mike Teel pass and took it 84 yards the other way for a touchdown, putting the Bearcats up 17-0 in a game they would go on to win 30-11.

"That's my favorite memory," says Smith assuredly.

Senior day will give Smith and 18 of his teammates a chance at one last hurrah in front of a home crowd at Nippert Stadium. But Senior Day is important day for other Bearcats, as well.

"It's really important to me," says red shirt junior quarterback Tony Pike. "Obviously, coming in with a lot of these seniors a lot of these guys have been my friends for four or five years here and we've been real close. This game, it's the last game they'll play at Nippert, and one of the last times I'll get to play with them. It means a lot, especially from my standpoint, just being with the guys for so long and wanting to send them off right."

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