This fall, Cincinnati Bearcats second-year coach Butch Jones stressed the importance of his team having a good tempo, especially if it wanted to improve from its 4-8 overall record and 2-5 mark in the Big East last year.

The experienced Bearcats, who return 18 starters, seemed to waste no time finding that tempo on both sides of the ball last Saturday in their season opener against Austin Peay. Behind a dominant offensive attack led by All-Big East quarterback Zach Collaros, the Bearcats dismantled the Governors 72-10.

“Obviously it is a great way to start the season, getting off on the winning side of things,” Jones said. “It was very beneficial in the amount of reps our second team was able to get on the offense and defense.”

Seniors Collaros and tailback Isaiah Pead put together strong performances in their two quarters of action. The Cincy signal caller completed 12-of-19 through the air for 134 yards and four touchdowns while Pead rushed for 87 yards on seven carries and two scores.

Senior D.J. Woods led all wide outs with four receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown. Woods was named all-conference as well entering the season after hauling in 57 passes for 898 yards and eight scores in his junior year.

The Bearcats finished with 561 total yards of offense (387 rushing) in the game.

“He (Collaros) was very efficient,” Jones said. “We worked very hard on the scramble drill. He was able to create some plays when they broke down on his legs.”

For Collaros, this was the type of start to the season expected, as he picked up right on cue from his 2010 campaign in which he threw for 2,902 yards and 26 touchdowns.

However, the Steubenville, Ohio, native will have his workload cut out for him when the Bearcats travel to Neyland Stadium for a matchup with the Tennessee Volunteers (1-0) this Saturday.

“We’re going into an SEC environment, we’re just not at Austin Peay, we’re playing Tennessee,” Collaros said. “We’re not going to be afraid, obviously. It’s a great opportunity for us and our team and our program.”

Cincinnati’s offense, which averaged 27 points per game last season, will not be as much of a concern on Saturday as the defense will be against the Vols. The Bearcats on average allowed 28 points per game last year and gave up 30 or more points in seven games.

Despite playing against an Ohio Valley Conference team, the Bearcats put up a satisfying effort on defense, limiting the Governors to 277 yards of total offense and forcing five turnovers.

Senior middle linebacker J.K. Schaffer and backup junior defensive back Aaron Roberson each recorded interceptions against the Govs, while true freshman defensive back Adrian Witty led the team in tackles with five and forced two fumbles.

“They have taken great strides but again I still think we need to stop the run a little more consistently,” Jones said.

This Saturday the Bearcats’ defense will try to limit the Vols’ sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray from picking apart the secondary, as well as preventing running lanes from opening up for running backs Tauren Poole and Marlin Lane.

“It’s the most important game because it’s the next game,” Jones said.

For the Bearcats and Vols this will be their sixth all-time meeting, the first since 1992. Tennessee leads the all-time series 4-1.

Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday. Coverage will be on ESPN2.