CINCINNATI (AP) -Only one game into the season, No. 23 Cincinnati is looking to pull off its version of a summer rerun.
Yes, the opener was that good.
The Bearcats' 47-15 win at Rutgers on Monday pushed them into the Top 25 and installed them as the team to beat in the Big East, which they won last season. The schedule also left them with no time to savor it - Southeast Missouri State visits Saturday.
The challenge will be to stay sharp against an overmatched team despite little practice time.
``It's a work in progress,'' coach Brian Kelly said. ``The bottom line is our guys are doing the little things right to be successful. We need to keep duplicating it week after week. It has a lot of to do with the consistent message week-to-week.''
They've set the bar high.
ive to try to regroup. All it did was provide a commercial break before the touchdown. The Bearcats kept it going, averaging 1 minute, 56 seconds on their five scoring drives in the first half.
``I don't think you could ask for more,'' Pike said. ``The first drive of the year, we took 2 1/2 minutes and drive 80 yards. When you talk about the game plan, you want to make a statement with that first drive. With the crowd and the atmosphere, if don't score on the first drive, it's going to put us behind even more.''
Now, the Bearcats will see if they can be that good again.
``We need to develop consistency,'' said Pike, who was 27 of 34 for 362 yards and three touchdowns. ``Last year, we had games like this where we would come out and be great, then we struggled some games. That is the biggest thing we worked on in the offseason, building that consistency.''
The home opener provides a chance to work on things.
Southeast Missouri State (1-0) came to Cincinnati for the first time in its history in 2007 and had a very bad time. The Redhawks kept up for a half, then were riddled for 40 second-half points as the Bearcats pulled away to a 59-3 win. It's been the norm when the Redhawks play a Bowl Subdivision school.
s and were outscored 174-13 in the last three against Arkansas, Cincinnati and Missouri.
In the rematch, the Redhawks have two things in their favor. Their offense is more diverse - they routed Quincy 72-3 in their opener - and the Bearcats had less time to prepare. Instead of giving his team a day off on Tuesday, Kelly had a workout.
``Yeah, it's tough,'' linebacker Demetrius Jones said. ``But we've been preparing for this since January. It's not like we didn't know we had to play Southeast Missouri on Saturday. The coaches have done a great job with scouting reports and the game plan and how they're going to go straight-out this week. As players, we're just following the regular routine.''
The goal is to make the impressive performances routine.
``The offense, in general, has to stay consistent,'' Pike said. ``You can't have a game like that and then come back the next week and not put up offense and the points we need to put up. We're going to build that through the year.''

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