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Entries in Tony Pike (5)


VIDEO: Bearcats Celebrate After Thrilling Win At Pitt

One Great Season

PITTSBURGH --Typically I like to hustle home after a game and load up some still pictures. I'll try to get to those before the end of the day today, but I wanted to give you a look first at what it was like to be on the field as Cincinnati celebrated its second straight Big East Championship after the Bearcats claimed a thrilling victory at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field on Saturday. Enjoy the six video clips below:

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Cincinnati Players Count Down Final Seconds

Two Cincinnati players rejoice on the sideline and sprint onto the field after the Bearcats claimed a thrilling 45-44 victory at Pittsburgh, locking up a 12-0 season, the Big East championship and the league's automatic BCS bowl bid.


Binns, Bearcats Storm The Field

UC hero Armon Binns and the Bearcats claim temporary ownership of Heinz Field moments after earning permanent ownership of the 2009 Big East championship in Pittsburgh on Saturday.


Cincinnati Players Join Fans To Celebrate Big East Title

It didn't take long for the Cincinnati players to want to rush over to the corner of Heinz Field where their red-clad supporters were stationed, road-weary but ready to celebrate their squad's second straight Big East championship, won Saturday in thrilling fashion over Pittsburgh, 45-44.


Cincinnati Teammates Congratulate Pike On Heroic Effort

Pay attention to the end of this video, where you'll see a quick flash of the game ball jammed in Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike's helmet. He and Mardy Gilyard teamed up to lead the Bearcats to a thrilling victory Saturday at Pittsburgh to win the Big East championship.


Cincinnati Coach Brian Kelly Emotional During Postgame Celebration

Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly shared an emotional embrace with one of his players, then walked off Heinz Field with a finger in the air, U2 blaring on the sound system and on a couple of occasions lifts a towel to his misty eye.


Cincinnati's Travis Kelce: "It Feels ------- Great!"

Cincinnati tight end Travis Kelce wasn't shy when asked how Saturday's defeat of Pittsburgh felt.


Bearcats Win Most Exciting Game Of NCAA Season

One Great Season

PITTSBURGH -- I lost a job in July and had no idea what I was going to do next. Then I revived a project I'd thought about 15 years ago, hit the road in late August, and 14 Saturdays later, spent a snowy afternoon in Pittsburgh watching through a camera's viewfinder on the sideline as my alma mater finished off its most successful season in school history.


+ DISCUSSION: Was UC-Pitt Most Exciting Game Of CFB Season?
+ ANALYSIS: Archbishop Tebow Is Right Man For ND Job
+ IMAGES: The Hot Girls Of College Football
+ ANALYSIS: Despite Injury, Pike's Numbers Better Than Tebow's
+ GAMEDAY GALLERY: Pittsburgh at West Virginia
+ OPINION: I Hate The Cliche Holiday Piece, But ...
+ DONATE: 30 Thousand Helpers
+ VIDEO: OGS Featured On FOX61 In Hartford
+ FOLLOW: Facebook, Twitter

And the Cincinnati Bearcats did it by beating Big East-rival Pittsburgh in the most exciting college football game of the season at frigid Heinz Field.

The Panthers couldn't hold on to a 31-10 second-quarter lead, and allowed three touchdowns in the final 11 minutes as the Bearcats claimed a thrilling 45-44 victory.

Mardy Gilyard wasn't the X factor for the visitors. He was the A-Z factor, repeatedly breathing life into an unusually tame Cincinnati attack. After Pittsburgh built that 21-point cushion late in the first half, Gilyard returned a kickoff down the left sideline and into the end zone right in front of 1,000 or so screaming red sweaters who made the drive from Cincinnati.

The play pulled the Bearcats to 31-17 just before the break.

The second half featured several momentum swings, big plays, a few key mistakes and even a couple of questionable calls by officials.

Senior quarterback Tony Pike connected with Gilyard on a 68-yard touchdown for the only points of the third quarter.

Pitt's talented freshman Dion Lewis scored the first of his two fourth-quarter touchdowns -- he also had one in the opening period -- to give the home team a 38-24 advantage, but Pike and D.J. Woods teamed up on an 8-yard scoring strike just 77 seconds later. Jake Rogers's point-after attempt hit the upright, leaving Cincinnati with an 8-point deficit.

More than five minutes passed before Isaiah Pead bulled his way to a 1-yard touchdown, and Gilyard's leaping grab of a Pike pass for the two-point conversion made the score 38-38.

Then the fun started.

Pitt took more than four minutes on a drive that ended with Lewis' 5-yard touchdown run at the 1:36 mark. Panthers holder Andrew Janocko couldn't corral the snap, however, so Pitt's lead was 44-38.

You had the feeling that it wasn't just those in the red sweaters behind the far end zone who knew that PAT failure was going to be relevant a short time later.

Pike, who completed his final 11 passes, got UC into what anyone else would call its two-minute offense. For the Bearcats, it's called Saturday.

UC marched easily down the field, and tied the game when Pike found a diving Armon Binns a half step beyond his man. The 29-yard touchdown pass tied the game at 44 with 33 seconds left. Rogers's PAT was good this time, and the celebration was on.

Cincinnati players stormed the field, donning brand new red, white and blue caps, the first symbols of a second straight Big East championship.

Pike, Gilyard and all their sweaty, grass-stained friends exchanged hugs, high-fives and hell-yeahs; a few even ran around with tears streaming down their faces.

The two stars were among the last Bearcats to leave the field and join the locker-room party. Pike signed autographs, shook hands with fans and even took some weak trash talk from bitter Pitt students who hung around near the UC tunnel, at least 20 minutes after the game had ended.

Meanwhile, Gilyard enjoyed a few minutes in front of the cameras, covering such topics as his support for Nebraska, Cincinnati-style chili and the future of Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly. You can watch that below, and come on back for more celebration video Sunday morning.


Despite Injury, Pike's Numbers Better Than Tebow's

Tony Pike

One Great Season

WASHINGTON, Pa. -- If it were up to Cy Young voters to determine college football's Heisman Trophy winner, you'd probably see Cincinnati's Tony Pike back on the list.

If there could be such a thing as a popular darkhorse, Pike was it by midseason. He was averaging 10 touchdown passes and 4,000 yards a game it seemed, before missing three full games and parts of two others with an injured forearm. Fortunately for the Bearcats, sophomore backup Zach Collaros filled in so splendidly at quarterback that when Pike was rounding back into form, coach Brian Kelly had an embarrassment of riches at the position for still-unbeaten UC.

And while the injury gave fans in Clifton reason to be excited for next season with Collaros at the helm, the missed time cost Pike a chance to become the school's first Heisman winner.


+ GAMEDAY GALLERY: Pittsburgh at West Virginia
+ OPINION: I Hate The Cliche Holiday Piece, But ...
+ IMAGES: The Hot Girls Of College Football
+ DONATE: 30 Thousand Helpers
+ VIDEO: OGS Featured On FOX61 In Hartford
+ FOLLOW: Facebook, Twitter

Baseball writers gave rising superstar Tim Lincecum his second straight Cy Young Award this month, in one of the more intriguing votes in recent history. Lincecum needed only 15 wins to grab the NL honor, while AL stud Zack Greinke won just 16 games en route to becoming the Kansas City Royals' first such honoree.

Tim Tebow

Obviously, those writers recognized quality over quantity, and while Heisman voters will have a hard time ignoring Texas quarterback Colt McCoy's prolific numbers, Pike boasts the kind of consistent dominance that could possibly earn him at least a few votes if he closes with another stellar effort Saturday in a nationally televised Big East championship game against Pittsburgh. Something to tell the grandchildren.

Despite the limited action, Pike's passing numbers are actually slightly better than those of Florida's Tim Tebow, who won the Heisman in 2007.


+ 162-for-249 passing, 2,048 yards and 23 TDs and 3 INTs.
+ Passer rating of 162.22.
+ He's had two games with 30+ completions, and four games with 300+ yards.


+ 162-of-244 passing, 2,166 yards, 17 TDs and 4 INTs.
+ Passer rating of 160.67
+ He hasn't completed more than 17 passes in a game this season, and hasn't thrown for more than 255 yards.

Certainly Tebow is the most dangerous running quarterback in the country, so he's got a large edge over Pike in that category. But Tebow also has one of the nation's top defenses in his own locker room. Pike's defensive mates aren't nearly as dominant, so he's had to earn his unbeaten record this year more than Tebow has earned his.

I'm not saying Pike is a better quarterback or that he deserves first-place Heisman consideration, but it would be nice for his incredible performance this season to be recognized appropriately.


UC Coach Kelly Gives Latest on QB Tony Pike

One Great Season

CINCINNATI -- Tuesday was my first exposure to Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly. After giving an update on the health of star quarterback Tony Pike, he tried to close that part of the discussion with some good-natured ribbing of longtime TV guy Denny Janson, another Cincinnati funny guy.

But of course when the starting quarterback of your No. 5 team is injured, among this year's Heisman hopefuls and of course a local kid, ending a conversation about his injury isn't an easy thing to do. Reporters peppered Kelly with questions about Pike at the coach's weekly press luncheon on UC's campus Tuesday.

And then of course the conversation shifted to what the plan is for the week for Pike's two backups, Zach Collaros and Chazz Anderson.


Monday Notebook

One Great Season

HOUSTON -- Sitting at Houston's Intercontinental Airport on a Monday afternoon, waiting for my flight to San Jose, I couldn't help but continue to be obsessed about college football. Here are some observations four weeks in:

+ It's turning into one great season indeed. I feel like we're on the way to a very 2007-like campaign full of upsets, unpredictability and an ever-changing Top 25.

+ Not that the Top 25 is the most important aspect of the sport, but if one thing has been proven so far about an early season poll ranking, it's that it's the one thing about the business of college football -- unlike the BCS bowl format -- that is truly for the fans. Perhaps the most significant thing that preseason rankings -- Cal? Ole Miss? -- do is warm things up for the bloggers and radio talk show hosts, and of course their audiences. College football fans might be the most passionate of all sports observers, and rankings in August and September give them plenty to cry about.

+ ESPN and others need to stop using the term "must-win" or "virtual must-win" in September. Notre Dame, anyone? 2007 proved you can lose -- and lose late in the season like Ohio State did -- and still play for the national championship. Already this season, we have four one-loss teams ranked among the top nine. And as I look at the calendar, it tells me it's not yet October.

+ I just got my credential confirmed for the Oct. 10 Florida game at LSU. Thanks go out to the fine people in the LSU Sports Information Department!

+ I covered Tony Pike one time some years back. Not on the field, but when I was freelancing some sports stories for the Cincinnati Enquirer. He was certainly a good quarterback at Reading High School, but at 7 feet tall and no more than 90 pounds, hardly seemed the type of guy who'd be a Heisman  Trophy candidate years later. But do you know what does seem quite Heisman-like at this point? Pike's stat line through four games, all Cincinnati Bearcat victories:

71 percent completion rate | 11 touchdowns | 2 interceptions | 306 ypg passing | 173 quarterback rating.

Kid is nice. Cincinnati is my alma mater, so I definitely root for the Bearcats, but those who claim the Bearcats are the best college team in the state of Ohio should still check themselves.