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Friday, October 31, 2008

Bearcats bruise Bulls, 24-10

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— Not bad for a guy with a broken arm.

Playing with a soft cast protecting his surgically repaired left forearm, junior Tony Pike had one of his finest games Thursday night, throwing a pair of touchdown passes and steadying Cincinnati's offense in a 24-10 victory over No. 24 South Florida.

Pike was sharp in his second game back since he broke his non-passing arm, which is held together by a plate and six screws. A black wrap covered the removable cast that covers a four-inch scar from the operation and softens the blows. He took several rattling hits and hung in there until the middle of the fourth quarter.

"He sees the whole field," said receiver Mardy Gilyard, who caught a 26-yard touchdown pass. "He does a good job of getting the offense going. When he's in there, everything is fluid."

Cincinnati (6-2, 2-1 Big East) was back to normal with an experienced quarterback running the no-huddle, spread offense again. Facing one of the conference's toughest defenses, Pike was 20-of-28 for 281 yards and two touchdowns, including a one-yard pass to Connor Barwin that put the Bearcats up, 24-10, early in the fourth quarter.

On that play, Pike had to take a direct snap from center instead of working out of the shotgun. The force of the snap hurt his left hand, limiting him to one play the rest of the way.

"After the touchdown to Connor, it was pretty painful," Pike said.

South Florida (6-3, 1-3) was the last Big East team ranked in the Top 25.

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