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Taggart’s Bus Looks to Keep Rolling in Cincinnati

Some commentary, stats, fun facts and a Andre 'Freakshow' Davis highlight reel to wet your pre-game palate before tonight's AAC matchup between Cincinnati and USF.

USF Athletics

Cincinnati 'CPK' Helmet Sticker

Coming off the Bulls' record setting 20 point comeback against Tulsa last Saturday, the Bulls now sit tied for the third slot in the AAC at 2-1. Last night UConn gave #18 East Carolina (5-1, 3-0) a scare, but the Pirates pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Huskies 31-21 and remain unbeaten in conference play.

USF (3-4, 2-1) hits the road on a short week for a 7:00 p.m. Friday Night primetime conference showdown with long-time foe Cincinnati (3-3, 1-1). Today will be the twelfth meeting of the two schools, with the Bearcats leading the series 7-3. During the series between the Bearcats and Bulls, six games have been played on a non-Saturday and Cincinnati holds the edge 4-2.

Fifteen UC student-athletes hail from Florida, including a Tampa native. Wide receivers Andre Davis and Cincinnati's Chris Moore were teammates on the 2010 Jefferson Dragons undefeated state championship team. Moore hauled in three passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns against #22 Ohio State, breaking the Cincinnati, American Athletic Conference and NCAA FBS records with a 73.7 yards/catch.

When asked about true freshman running back D’Ernest Johnson’s one-handed grab on 3rd down last week, Taggart dubbed Johnson ‘A Dude’. Taggart elaborated further on playmakers explaining the team has a saying ‘M.A.P.’, which stands for ‘Make a Play’. The Bulls will rely on every player to show up tonight and take the next big step toward a post-season appearance, but no position more than running back. Tommy Tuberville had this say about Mack in his presser:

"Are we getting better? We’ll find out this week" – That’s especially so considering the AAC best running back, Marlon Mack, comes to town."

Mike White ended the day in Tulsa 17 of 26 (65.4%) for 272 yards, three touchdowns and one horrendous pick six in the first quarter. White’s 65.4% completion percentage against Tulsa was the first time any USF quarterback has elapsed the 60% mark dating back 10 games to October 5, 2013 in the 26-20 win over Cincinnati (Bobby Eveld; 62.5%). White will need his 'A' game if the Bulls plan to become a serious contender for the AAC crown.

Funny how that stat worked out, right? It was also the first time White hit the 60% completion percentage mark since his coming out party against Houston on Halloween last season (63.4%). Yes, I believe this offense has turned the corner.

Now for some fun pre-game facts:

s In his first career game against Toledo on Sept. 12, 2014, UC QB Gunner Kiel recorded the most passing touchdowns (six) for a quarterback in his NCAA FBS debut. The record was previously held by Florida's John Reaves who threw five against Houston on Sept. 20, 1969. Reaves' son David is USF's quarterbacks coach.

s USF WR coach Ron Dugans played for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2000-03 and was a coaching assistant for the team in 2007.

s The Bearcats are averaging 3.0 sacks per game and lead the American Athletic Conference.

s UC had a season-high in rushes (46), rushing yards (240) and forced a season-best four turnovers at SMU.

s UC is 20-of-22 in the red zone this season.

s QB Gunner Kiel has thrown a league leading 19 touchdown passes in just six games.

s Seven Cincinnati receivers have at least one TD reception.

s LB Jeff Luc has registered 75 tackles in six games. Luc has 20 more tackles than any other Bearcats player.

s QB Munchie Legaux, who suffered a serious leg injury in the second game of the 2013 season, returned to the lineup in the second quarter against Toledo.

s DE Terrell Hartsfield leads the team with 5.0 sacks, more than doubling his 2013 number of 1.5. He is tied for second in the American Athletic Conference.

USF WR Andre 'Freakshow' Davis Highlights [Mcknurkle Edition]