"I can't wait to go back home and feel that light little breeze in the evening, Mardy Gilyard told Bearcat Insider during the team's weekly press conference. "It's going to be about 75-80 degrees at game time with a light breeze that will rejuvenate those who are from Florida. I don't know how to explain it but you just feel better when that breeze hits your body."
For Ricardo Mathews the trip back to his home state also means a lot.
"Yeah I'm definitely excited because my family is actually going to get to come to the game along with a couple of people I played with in high school. So it's real nice to go back to the Sunshine State for a big game my senior year."
When asked if there was something in the Florida air that hits him Mathews agreed with his wide receiver teammate.
"I don't know how to explain it but it's in the blood of those who come from Florida. When that air hits your body it gets the blood pumping and you know you're back home."
With a game of this magnitude at the midway point of the season both players have seen their phones and emails hit hard by family and friends looking to take in the action.
For Gilyard the requests have come hard and fast but one that he's handled well.
"I got as many tickets as I could get and the rest of them had to buy tickets online."
For Mathews there was still work to be done.
"I've been talking to a few of my teammates about getting some help. I'm sure my phone and email have messages on them right now with more people wanting tickets or trying to get on the name list. I think I'll have 15 or 20 people at the game if things work out."
But while each player is enjoying the though of getting back closer to home, each knows this is a working trip and the goal is to beat South Florida. What has the pair seen during film study?
For Mardy and the offense they've seen a very good and fast defense being coached by one of the team's former coaches Joe Tresey.
"Their defense is fast and they will hit," said Gilyard. "George Selvie is just wrecking havoc on teams so far this year and Jason Pierre-Paul just plays with a really high motor. Their front four is looking good and their defense as a whole is looking good. Coach Tresey is doing a great job done there with their defense and we know we must play perfect football and not have any mistakes if we're going to come home with a victory."
For Mathews and the Bearcats defense they know the Bulls offense has a new field general that can make things happen.
"The little option, we've really got to watch because B.J. Daniels is fast and can beat you. We can't make any mistakes and we've got to execute our assignments if we're to have success."
While Gilyard remembers the Bulls recruiting him Mathews couldn't remember if South Florida was one of the teams to come in late after he made his commitment switch to UC.
Mardy remembers the following about his Bulls recruitment.
"South Florida recruited me. But I just wanted to get out of state and didn't really take them seriously. They did get my teammate Chris Robinson. UC offered Chris but he wanted to stay close to home and I really wanted to get away."
As for what fans should expect on game night Mardy didn't hold back on what the team has been doing the past week.
We're going to open up everything. We put in more packages that we needed to put in and we're fine tuning the things we already do well. We're going into this game with our ears pinned up ready to let loose and to play fast."
For Mathews he knows when players from Florida take the field there is always a lot of talking going on between them.
"Us Florida players definitely like to talk, but it's all good. But anytime we play them it's at a different speed on the field as well compared to other game."
Now in his senior season, Mardy Gilyard didn't know if this game would ever happen for him.
"I was hoping it would shake out like this. But to be honest I never thought I was going to make it to this spot in my career. But I'm happy it's shaking out like it is and I'm going to get a chance to go home for a game my senior year as a key contributor for my team. There are still a lot of people who've not had a chance to see me play yet and have only heard that I've been doing well. So I'm really excited about getting the chance to play in front of them in such a big game."
For Mathews the journey has been one that's gone too fast.
"I know it's gone by really, really, really, fast. It's been a good experience but I know I feel like I just got here last week. It all feels like it's all gone by in a blink of an eye. I remember a lot of football and know I had some good times during some of the weekends, but it's been a lot of football. I know I defiantly made a great choice to come to Cincinnati."
While both players know the importance of the game to their chances of repeating as Big East Champions, neither player felt this one game would make or break their season. The Big East road ahead is filled with quality teams waiting to get the Bearcats when they battle each other.