Continued from page 1

That resiliency helped breed confidence. Even the normally taciturn Strong was smiling after beating Memphis, and Jones said the difference between Louisville now and where the program was at a year ago is noticeable.

“I think their football team is hungry,” Jones said. “They have a lot of talented players who maybe haven’t experienced the success they would have liked to have experienced in the past, but they have lot of seniors. They’re playing at a high level right now.”

So are the Bearcats.

Pead has rushed for 366 yards in the last two games. The slippery back can be a handful for opposing defenses, a task that could be even harder on Friday when the Bearcats debut new skintight jerseys that are 30 percent lighter than their old duds.

Pead is hoping to keep winning fashionable at Cincinnati.

“You don’t want to go into your next Big East game 0-1 in the Big East, especially after being defending champs,” he said. “It would hurt. You’ve got to win this game.”