I wrote in this very space last week that the win against Temple wasn't as impressive as I originally thought that Friday night. Saturday's win over Connecticut was just as impressive as I thought after the final gun sounded. Every phase of the game had a positive. The offense was dominant. The defense was everywhere. Special teams had a couple of alright kick returns and ok maybe all three phases weren't perfect. The offense and defense were just about as unstoppable as they should have been against a team like Connecticut.
I wanted to see Cincinnati roll the Huskies from start to finish. They pretty much rolled the Huskies from start to finish. 7-3 was as close as the game would ever be and that lasted for about 5 minutes. Cincinnati did what good teams do to bad teams, they capitalized on major mistakes and put foot to ass. 14 points in the last 90 seconds of the first half showed that.
If this is going to be a team that has a chance at pulling down the BCS bid, they can't afford to mess around with bad teams. They have no shot at winning any BCS tiebreaker. UC is ranked 87th out of 122 teams that qualify. 4 of the wins have come to teams ranked 107-121. Memphis is up next rated 106. USF is ranked 98. Like I said, no shot to win a BCS tiebreaker. Cincinnati is just going to have to win. Period. Win and hope for 2 UCF losses. But in this sport, you can't play with hoping someone will lose. Butch Jones said, probably still says, snap and clear. That's all we can do. Focus on Memphis the day before Halloween. After a performance like Saturday, that's a lot easier to do.
Brendon Kay has eaten teams for breakfast the past couple of weeks. He followed his great week against Temple by going 17-24 for 300 yards and 4 TDs against the Huskies. He ran for another TD as well. Kay has hit his stride. The poor defenses that Cincinnati has seen can't do much in the way of slowing down #11. He can pick them apart or he can let the deep ball go. They have no way of stopping him. He is rolling. The offense is rolling as a result.
Things are running so great for Kay that he had this bad ass picture of him taken before the game.
Raise your hand if you thought Jordan Luallen would lead the team in carries, yards and throw a TD pass? No one but Jordan Luallen's mom has their hand raised. Luallen ran 12 times for 51 yards. He was 3-4 in the air for 64 yards. He threw a brilliant 27 yard TD on a play action from the LuallenCat. I don't know why they continue to run that, but hey, it worked against UConn. Great job, Jordan.
The rest of the running backs went for 90 yards on 21 carries. Tion Green was held to 8 for 38. That doesn't sound so bad, but that number was inflated by a 30 yard run by Hosey Williams. Williams ended up tied for second in yards with 38 on 6 carries. He hit the home run then hit nothing else.
Ralph David Abernathy IV continues to look awful. He had 7 carries for 14 yards. His longest run was 9. He hasn't broke a double digit run in two weeks. He didn't catch a pass either. Maybe his plays are too predictable. They need to find new ways of getting him the ball with the semi-bye week if that's the case. If it's not, why is he getting so many carries when he's clearly ineffective?
Big week for the receivers. Every one of them had their time to shine. That's why I'm just going to bullet point them.
Mekale McKay led the team with 93 yards on just two catches. They went for 56 and 37. He is a field stretcher. Even when he's not making catches, he's drawn a couple of flags.
Chris Moore had 3 catches for 65 yards. 2 of them were for TDs. He made a brilliant 1 handed grab in the end zone for his first score:
and he was the recipient of the Luallen TD. He also mixed in a 30 yard catch just because.
Max Morrison bounced back with 4 catches for 54 yards, including a 32 yard TD. His TD was as easy as it could ever be because he was very wide open.
Blake Annen had 56 yards and a TD from 41 yards out.
Shaq Washington had 4-52. Anthony McClung had 3-44, highlighted by a 28 yard flip pass that he took to the house untouched. Nate Cole even added a 24 yard reception. Still think they should play a 'Cole World' drop when he makes a catch. Do it, whoever runs the music.
Not the best game for Bennie Coney. He came in and immediately threw the first INT of his career. He gave UConn a TD by fumbling, trying to pick up the fumble instead of falling on it and bobbling it again. He's a freshman. He's not perfect. I would have liked to see him get more run, but the coaches played it safe.
The offensive line played pretty well without Austen Bujnoch, who missed the game with a foot injury. UC averaged 8 yards a play, 3.8 on the ground and a whopping 12.9 yards a pass attempt. Kay wasn't touched. UC was only 4-10 on 3rd downs. That's not really the lines fault, but that goes in the line category because you have to talk about this stuff somewhere.
Let's get the special teams out of the way now. After a bounce back last week, Tony Miliano pushed a 31 yard field goal attempt. I like Tony a lot, but now he's 3-7 on the season. I don't know if it's all in his head or if he's just catching some bad breaks. I hope he can straighten it out because he's a good kid.
If a missed short kick wasn't enough to make people worry about the kicking game, a low snap by Kirk Willis wiped out an extra point attempt, which is why UC ended up with a 41 instead of a 42. Between the blocks, the misses and now the bad snaps, it's not been a successful year for the field goal team. If UC has to beat Memphis with a late field goal, people will die before the attempt goes up.
The Brendon Kay pooch punts are working out very well. He hit a 55 yarder that went for a touchback, but your quarterback is hitting 55 yard punts. John Lloyd wasn't so bad, 2 punts for a 41.5 average, 1 inside the 20 but Kay has brought something different. Especially if there is no deep safety.
Remember earlier in the season when people like me were saying "where is the pass rush?" The pass rush is here. 8 sacks on Saturday. Silverberry Mouhon had 2 and 2 hurries. Jordan Stepp had 2. Terrell Hartsfield played the game of his career so far with 1.5 sacks. Nick Temple and Greg Blair both had one. Adam Dempsey had credit for half a sack. They were all over Tim Boyle.
The secondary was full of great, great, great plays. Deven Drane batted a pass up to himself, caught it and raced all the way down to the 2.
Mike Tyson made a tremendous catch on a pass, went 95 yards the other way and almost scored.
Almost scored because he didn't tuck the ball away and was stripped inside the 5. The ball went out of the end zone for a touchback. I hope this wasn't your only chance at a defense TD, Mike. I'm sure it won't be.
Howard Wilder capped things off with a spectacular INT that was deflected, nearly picked by Tyson again, landed on the UConn receiver and was grabbed by Wilder. The first career INTs for Wilder and Tyson. Big day from the secondary.
Hey Tim Boyle, if you are going to talk about how the crowd noise won't affect your performance, you should worry about your actual performance more instead. There is a difference between being calm in the pocket and pulling out a lawn chair and sipping a soda, which he would because he's underage.
The big day for the secondary didn't stop with picks. Arryn Chenault had a team best 9 tackles. Deven Drane had 8 of them, Adrian Witty and Zach Edwards both had 6. Guys were making plays.
Nick Temple had 7 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack. Greg Blair had 5 tackles, 2.5 for loss and 1 sack. The garbage man Clemente Casseus had 3 stops.
No one expects ESPNU to be awesome production wise. They were beyond awful. Every pass Boyle threw towards the sideline was off camera in the first quarter. Not even joking. The announcers were of course awful, but the camera man didn't even follow the plays. That's annoying as hell.
The crowd was nearly 29,000, which seems alright for a game like this. It was an awful day. People didn't fill up the stadium but hey, it was the 4th winless team in a row. I give the crowd a good because I'm about to unnecessarily hammer them.
After UConn scored their final TD off the fumble recovery, fans and cheerleaders probably started cheering the familiar "Block that kick, block that kick." That's a thing that they often do. The problem was that no one was paying attention to the fact that UConn's offense was on the field and they were not kicking. Chanting "Block that kick," when there is no kick shows you aren't paying attention. Pay attention. It's your one job. Besides don't cuss.
We have finally made it through all the winless teams on the schedule. Miami, USF, Temple, UConn, all flaming garbage piles with '0-' before their names when Cincinnati played them. I don't care if it's 1- or 2-, I'm tired of seeing 0-. Thank god that's over.
Best performance of the season. Even the Bearcat was photographed in a bad ass manner:
Let's see it keep rolling in 9 days.
Photos via Go Bearcats/Lisa Ventre/UC and USA Today Sports