Originally posted on Bearcats Blog | Last updated 10/1/12
Even though the high has worn off from the 27-24 victory over Virginia Tech, the lasting images of the game have not. I've watched the Damon Julian TD catch about 25 times since it happened. I'm going to embed it later in this piece. The win Saturday was the type of victory that launches more high quality opponents for ESPN to match Cincinnati up against. I have zero doubt that this will happen in the future. It was the type of game where, for better or worse, we are going to look at and say "That was Munchie's game." He has hopefully 23 starts to go in his career. This game will always be the one of legend. I don't think words can describe how fantastic it was. The tweet I had retweeted the most Saturday night was something along the lines of holy ****, I can't believe that happened. I am leaving out the f word for the sake of the children. Who's children? Munchie Legaux's future children when they come back and read this post in 10 years. The pass to Julian wasn't as significant as the Pike pass to Binns, or even the Pike pass in overtime against West Virginia. Both of those led to Big East titles and BCS games. Munchie Magic was different from those in another way. This game gave the fanbase a reason to believe in Munchie Legaux. A large part of the fan base was all in when he was named the starter. A portion were clamoring for a QB change yesterday. There is one thing everyone can agree with though. UC wouldn't have won that game without Munchie at the end.
It could be argued that Cincinnati could have won that game if Brendon Kay started the whole thing because Munchie was not very good. His TD pass to RDA IV was one anyone could have made because Va Tech didn't cover him. RDA ran a very long way for that score. Even with the late game heroics, Munchie was just 4-9 the last 3 drives of the game. I think even the most ardent Bearcat fan shares my next thought. It feels like there is a pendulum hanging over the rest of the season where Munchie is going to cost the team a close game. That pendulum could never fall. I hope it never does. The win Saturday could be karmic justice for the final drive last year against West Virginia when Munchie got the team down the field but the game tying field goal was blocked. The feeling that Saturday's magic was a one time thing won't go away until Munchie is better than 19-42. I think you can say Cincinnati is the second best team in the Big East. I think you can say they could be the best. What we do know is that Teddy Bridgewater isn't going 19-42. Gary Nova threw 42 passes in a game and completed 23. I believe in Munchie. I hope my gut is wrong. I also hope that is children who read this in 10 years laugh at how wrong this paragraph was when he wins the rest of the games he starts.
Happy and Angry/Sad Butch Jones time
I practically begged the receivers to make plays this week. I was like a scorned lover begging for a second chance. Kenbrell Thompkins picked up phone, told me he forgave me and ate up Exum and the Virginia Tech secondary to the turn of 7 catches, 134 yards and 1 TD. He dominated the game. Not only did he have the big numbers, he drew multiple flags on Exum. He totalled somewhere in the league of 160 yards with the penalties. KT was the player everyone including himself thought he would be on Saturday.
Damon Julian had 3 catches for 50 yards before he made the catch of his life. Anthony McClung was suffocated by Kyle Fuller all day. Julian's game winning TD catch was against the future NFL corner. That reads like I think Julian is better than McClung, but I'm not. I'm saying Julian made a gigantic play while guarded by the best player on the other team who suffocated the best receiver on the Bearcats. I don't have enough hats to take off to you, Dame.
Virginia Tech's first 5 drives
- 3 plays, 9 yards
- 3 plays, 2 yards
- 2 plays, 3 yards
- 3 plays, 9 yards
- 3 plays, 9 yards
- 5 plays, 62 yards
- 9 plays, 62 yards (FG)
- 8 plays, 76 yards (TD)
- 3 plays, 4 yards
- 6 plays, 93 yards (TD)
Whatever adjustments Virginia Tech made in the second half offensively, the Bearcats had no answer. The defense was on its heels the entire second half, sans 1 drive. It was beyond frustrating to watch the Hokies exploit the defense. Marcus Davis had a monster second half with over 90 yards for his 101 total. Holmes had some big runs. Corey Fuller busted the coverage for his monster TD catch. Logan Thomas completed under 50% of his passes the last 2 weeks and put 17-30 on the Cats. Miami is not as talented as Tech, but they just put up 56 this week. Tighten up, boys.
The first half defense was extraordinary. The Hokies are a slow starting team and the Bearcats made them start even slower. With the Bearcats inability to pull away early, the defense giving up even another TD would have made this game a lot more difficult.
Maalik Bomar had 16 tackles. 9 of them solo, 7 assisted. He would have been second on the team in tackles with just one of those totals. The man was everywhere. He has been overshadowed by the emergence of Greg Blair, but Bomar is ballin' out.
Speaking of Greg Blair, 13 more tackles. He is playing at a very high level.
No idea why Cincinnati was so unprepared for Logan Thomas to run the QB draw. On Tech's first TD, everyone in the stadium and everyone at home knew he was going to sneak on that 4th down. What does he do? Practically walk in the end zone. Fast forward to 3rd and 1 at the 5. Everyone who has watched the game knows Thomas is going up the middle. They ran that play before. What happens? 2 yard run for the first down. The only people who didn't know the most obvious play on Earth was coming were the guys who mattered the most.
While we are talking about dumb things, the fake field goal was not very smart. I love the idea of faking a field goal in a game like that. You want to be aggressive and beat the other team to the punch. That was not the time or place to do it though. UC was at the 19, which means it was almost impossible for that play to score. You know how I said it was almost impossible for that play to score? UC needed a first down at the 1. On top of that, UC had a TD taken off the board with a holding penalty. +100 for the balls and the idea of the fake, -1000 for the timing.
It was tough sledding on the ground against the very solid Virginia Tech front line. George Winn managed 76 yards on 17 carries for a nice 4.5 yard average. He lost just 1 yard. The man runs hard. He even made a tackle on special teams. George Winn is a man.
Ralph David Abernathy IV got just 4 touches on offense. The last touch was a 76 yard TD reception where he juked Exum so bad at midfield that Exum had to run back to pick his jock up after the play. He is a play-maker.
The playcalling was questionable at times on Saturday. I'm not one of those people who think I'm smarter than the coordinator and think the coordinators should be fired every time a play goes wrong. UC called passing plays 18 times in a row on Saturday. They didn't call a running play from midway of the second quarter to midway in the third. Some of it was because of turnovers and time at the end of the first half. It was so long between runs that people had to look it up. The plays developed too slow in the first half and Munchie was hit a lot. A lot. Things improved in the second half. I do credit that. Running was hard, but the disparity between passing plays and running plays was at least 13. Munchie took off a couple times and was sacked once. I don't like complaining about that stuff and I feel like I just did a horrible job about complaining about it too.
I talked a lot about Munchie up top, but he deserves his own clapping. 376 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT against that pass defense was very good. He ran for 27 yards to boot. You get the sense that he can be a very special quarterback.
But he needs to cut down on the bad decisions. He had an INT dropped then the very next pass was picked. It was a nice play by Virginia Tech, but not a good idea by Munchie. He also fumbled again. Throwing 23 incomplete passes is one thing because you only lose a down. Putting the ball on the ground and throwing it to the other team are obviously very bad. Get through the struggles quickly, please.
Tony Miliano hit from 20 and 43. It was very good.
The amount of shocked people when he missed from 41 was probably not that high though. He's young. The Golden Toe will never miss again. No pressure.
Pat O'Donnell is a stud and a half. 5 punts, 4 inside the 20. Average of 44.6. Virginia Tech started at the 12, 8, 1, 27 and 7. Major props to the Freak. Also major props to the cover unit.
Danny Milligan returned a punt 14 yards against the Hokies. It was the longest punt return of the season against them. The Hokie special teams is not what it used to be, but damn that punt unit is good. Hats off, AJ Hughes.
I know the return wouldn't have counted, but RDA IV got caught by the kicker on his big return. That's twice in 3 games. Gotta make the kicker miss.
The officiating was awful. They missed spot after spot after spot. Both of the holding calls that took away TDs were highly questionable. The spots were outstanding or horrible depending on what team you were rooting for. I don't know how you can mess something up so badly when there are 2 of you spotting the day. And Julian was down at the 1.
Arryn Chenault's INT was outstanding. He picked off Logan Thomas a couple of plays after Tech had a TD called back. He has played so well this season. If it weren't for Blair, people would be buzzing about how Chenault stepped into the starting lineup and outperformed Wes Richardson. Keep at it, my man.
I hope Antonie Exum has a hot girlfriend, a puppy, a kitten and is pumped for the return of Dexter and Homeland because he got worked like a speed bag. He had pass after pass after pass thrown on him. He blew an open field tackle that directly resulted in a Cincinnati TD. He had 4 major penalties called against him. You can't help but feel for him after it's over. I hope he makes a big play somewhere down the line.
The touchdown to Fuller was all my fault.
Lesson: don't mock people who drop passes when the game isn't over.
Cameron Cheatham had a huge game. He forced a fumble and recovered it. That was in part to a heads up play by Chris Williams to bat the ball away from the receiver who was trying to grab at it. Cheatham picked off the final pass Logan Thomas threw to cap the win. No idea why he won't let me follow him on twitter.
Travis Kelce, tuck that ball away.
Parker Ehinger started at right tackle with Sean Hooey watching the game from Cincinnati due to injury I'm guessing. Ehinger had 3 penalties called him. A false start on the first drive of each half and a substitution infraction. The offensive line had 1 penalty coming into the game.
Not a fan of the red pants. That said, I would be fine rocking the black jerseys and red pants until the Bearcats lose. I might be superstitious.
Cincinnati is 3-0. The Reds are hosting a playoff series this weekend. The Bengals are 3-1. Things are looking up for Cincinnati. I mentioned the pendulum earlier. It could be, and probably is, hanging over all of the success. What I did not mention earlier is this. It's not falling now. If you can't enjoy what's happening in Cincinnati sports, you need to think about what you want to happen for the teams. Winning is very fun. They are all winning. Anything could happen later. That doesn't subtract from how much fun it is now. The Cincinnati Bearcats are 3-0.
Thompkins and Cheatham photos via Cincinnati.com. Rest via GoBearcats
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