CINCINNATI (AP) -All four healthy quarterbacks took snaps this week for Cincinnati, a way for the Bearcats to make sure they don't get caught numb-handed against No. 24 South Florida.
Sense a little desperation?
Not just in Cincinnati, either. South Florida (6-2, 1-2) is the last remaining Big East team in the Top 25, an indication of how far the conference has fallen. A loss against Cincinnati (5-2, 1-1) on Thursday night would leave the Bulls out of the rankings and too far back to have a realistic chance at winning the conference title.
``You're really behind now pretty much,'' coach Jim Leavitt said. ``You've got to get a lot of help. No question you've got to win all the rest of them and hope a lot of other things happen. Can it happen? Sure. But you've got to beat Cincinnati, that's for sure.''
This one revolves around the Bearcat quarterbacks - all of them.
e of the worst runs of luck at the position. Senior Dustin Grutza broke his leg in the second game, and junior backup Tony Pike broke his left (non-passing) arm two games later. That left redshirt freshmen Chazz Anderson and Zach Collaros to keep it going.
For a while, they did.
Anderson led the Bearcats to wins over Marshall and Rutgers. Pike returned to practice last week with a soft cast over his left forearm, which is held together by a plate and screws. He was back at quarterback and the Bearcats were up 13-10 at halftime at Connecticut on Saturday.
Pike's left hand started getting numb, leaving him unable to handle the ball. Anderson got into the game on short notice and struggled, helping UConn pull away to a 40-16 win.
The constant change at quarterback finally caught up with them.
``I didn't feel that way, but maybe that was the truth,'' tight end Ben Guidugli said. ``As a team, you don't really feel you're at a disadvantage. You always feel like you're ready for whatever. But maybe it did catch up with us last week because we had to make the adjustment at halftime rather than before the game. It was a changeup and kind of threw us off.''
Coach Brian Kelly spent the last few days making sure it wouldn't happen again.
and.
``I didn't know until we came out that he couldn't grip the football,'' Kelly said. ``He tried to warm up and we had the ball first in the quarter, so we had about 90 seconds to kind of shift gears.
``I did not do a good enough job of shifting our game plan to Chazz when he went in for the second half. So this week, we will have a couple of different game plans based on who the quarterback is.''
Pike is expected to start, unless the arm is giving him problems. Anderson would be next in, with Collaros and sophomore Demetrius Jones ready.
The turmoil at the position has contributed to a dismal showing the last two games. The Bearcats are 0-for-25 in converting third downs in those two, and will be facing a defense that's very good at forcing the three-and-out.
Kelly doesn't think the Bearcats have lost confidence on third down.
``I know they don't go, 'Oh my God, it's third-and-3 and we're 0-for-25,''' Kelly said. ``If they do, they're a lot smarter than I give them credit for. I know I'm thinking we're 0-for-25. As a play caller and a coach, we're analyzing everything going on, so we're well aware of it. We just have to turn that trend.''
an ankle injury. He had two sacks and four tackles in the backfield during a 24-20 loss to Louisville on Saturday.
``That's the first time I've seen him play to the level he played (before the injury),'' Leavitt said. ``That's the first time I've seen George's play getting back to what he was. I thought George played a very good game last week.''

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