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Bearcats emerge with 5 straight wins

Updated: Tuesday, November 19 2013, 10:50 PM EST
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Asked about his recent penchant for trick plays,
Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville made a fist and shook it a few times,
acting as though he was about to shoot some dice.



''When you're on a roll, you just keep going,'' he said on Tuesday.



His team is on quite a roll as the season winds down, winning five in a
row with two important games ahead that will help decide the first
American Athletic Conference title.



The Bearcats (8-2, 5-1) play at Houston (7-3, 4-2) on Saturday.
Following a bye weekend, they finish the regular season with a Thursday
night game at Nippert Stadium against Louisville (9-1, 5-1).



Cincinnati and Louisville are tied for second behind Central Florida
(8-1, 5-0), which finishes the season with games against Rutgers, South
Florida and Southern Methodist.



Nobody's playing better lately than Cincinnati, which put together its
most complete game at Rutgers for a 52-17 victory last Saturday. The
Bearcats used every sort of trick play while pulling ahead 38-7 by
halftime.



''We came out of the chute on the road and that's about as good as you
can play in the first quarter,'' Tuberville said. ''I haven't been
around that many teams that way that just built confidence.



''On every play we made something happen, whether it's offense, defense
or the kicking game. We caught them by surprise a little bit by how
physical we were.''



Shocked them with the trick plays, too.



The Bearcats have a bunch of them in the playbook, but haven't used very many during the season.



On Saturday, they recovered an onside kick, got a first down off a fake
punt and ran several reverses. On one reverse, receiver Shaq Washington
threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to receiver Chris Moore.



''It gets the team going,'' quarterback Brendon Kay said. ''You get to
have a little fun, and in practice we're practicing it. A lot of those
plays we've run since (summer) camp. We've got a bunch in our back
pocket. We decided on those for that week. It gets the guys fired up.''



It's not all tricks. The Bearcats are eighth in total defense in the
FBS, and Kay leads an offense that has found its stride in the past five
games.



Kay, a sixth-year senior known for his accurate throws, developed a sore
shoulder during summer camp. Munchie Legaux, who is more of a
dual-threat quarterback, took over at the start. The offense was adapted
to feature Legaux's strengths, but he tore up a knee during the second
game.



Kay returned even though his shoulder was still sore and limited his
practice time. The Bearcats had to readjust their offense, eventually
going to more of a spread passing game.



''And after that, it has been all downhill,'' Tuberville said. ''We have
been on a run and scoring touchdowns and catching balls. It is fun to
stand on the sidelines and watch our offense work. He finds the open
receiver and we catch the ball. It's very seldom that we drop a ball.''



Kay went 24 of 38 for a career-high 405 yards and four touchdowns
against Rutgers. He's thrown four TD passes in a game three times this
season. In the past 21 quarters running a spread offense, Kay has
completed 76 percent of his throws for 1,740 yards and 15 touchdowns.



''Our offense the past two months - it has been unimaginable how much
better we have gotten just because all of the pieces are working,''
Tuberville said.



The Bearcats won at least a share of four of the last five Big East
football titles. They're playing their best as their first season in the
AAC wraps up.



''As long as we keep getting better every week we'll be fine,'' Kay
said. ''I think we've hit that stride where we've continued to do more
and more things every week.''



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Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

PHOTO:

Getty ImagesBearcats emerge with 5 straight wins


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