This game was over at halftime. I don’t care that the Huskies made it interesting in garbage time. The Bearcats had this game wrapped up early. Cincinnati was up 28 – 6 by the time the clocked ticked to :00 at the end of the 2nd quarter. UConn had exactly zero semblance of rhythm on offense led by a quarterback that was making YouTube videos in the offseason. The Bearcats channeled the energy of a nearly sold out Nippert Stadium and completely took over the game from the outset. On UConn’s first possession, Cincinnati’s defense backed the Huskies deep near their own goalline and allowed UC’s defensive line to tee off on the blockers. Walter Stewart sprang free and stripped the ball from Johnny McEntee for a touchdown. By ‘stripped the ball’, I mean Stewart took the ball out of McEntee’s hands like he was receiving a hand off. A couple of possessions later, Drew Frey jumped a McEntee pass and took it to the house. The defense a whole did well bottling up Lyle McCombs and forcing UConn’s young quarterbacks into uncomfortable 3rd and long situations. At that point, Derek Wolfe and the defensive line took over notching sack-after-sack. Not to be forgotten is J.K. Schaffer who forced and recovered a beautifully stripped fumble and notched his 3rd 100-tackle season in a row.
The offense took advantage of short fields provided to them by the defense and took it to the Huskies with a vengeance. Munchie Legaux, who looked so out of sorts against Rutgers three weeks ago, looked calm and cool in the pocket leading what is now his team to three touchdowns. His progression was showcased on the touchdown pass to freshman Alex Chisum, where the ball was thrown perfectly to the outside shoulder where only his receiver could catch it. Helping him out was Anthony McClung who had his share of drops (one of which was directly picked off), but the guy couldn’t be stopped on the crossing route. He scored 2 touchdowns and notched seemingly 100+ yards as Legaux had no problem finding him across the middle. It was an offensive performance that caused me to breathe a sigh of relief as the Bearcats head into the postseason.
On Senior Day, the entire Bearcats team came together and won in defining fashion. A share of a Big East championship is still a Big East championship, and I am going to immensely miss these graduating seniors and can’t wait to see seem for a final time in a bowl game.
So what’s next for Cincinnati? Well, at 9 – 3 they will likely be ranked tomorrow in the BCS Rankings. It’ll be nice to have that crooked number next to ‘Cincinnati’ but it won’t be enough to propel them to overtake West Virginia in the BCS Standings. Liberty Bowl representatives were at Nippert Stadium for the game so in all likelihood the Bearcats will be heading to Memphis for the New Years Eve bowl game. I’ll get to more details of the bowl pick if and when they are announced tomorrow/Monday but I have to tell you I’m initially very excited about the bowl. It’s a solid consolation prize to a BCS bowl. But, I’ll save that for later.