This basically sums up my reaction from tonight’s game:
I feel pretty good right now. Maybe it’s the alcohol surging through my veins but I really liked what I saw from Cincinnati tonight. The offense, as ran through Munchie Legaux, is going to be inconsistent at best. But you can almost always count on the Bearcats’ running game to lead this team to victory. They piled on 196 yards on the ground tonight including solid games from George Winn and Ralph David Abernathy. Tonight they just fell short in part because Munchie was bad. Really bad. Like begging-to-be-bench bad. He threw three picks against the Cardinals including one that essentially sealed the win for Louisville in overtime. But he did tie the game up in dramatic style hooking up with Damon Julian yet again.
On defense the Bearcats looked vulnerable in the secondary for the first time this season. They surrendered 416 yards through the air and had numerous incidents of blown coverage. The perfect example of this was Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker’s 64 yard touchdown catch. It was more like a 10 yard catch that he took 54 yards to the house thanks to UC cornerback Deven Drane’s poor contain and a slew of missed tackles on the back end. Even so it was one bad game for a unit that overall has been outstanding this year. Speaking of outstanding, how about the front seven? I criticized them in the week leading up to the game but they only allowed 108 yards rushing from a run-oriented offense that averages almost 50 yards more than that. They truly stepped up their game with Walter Stewart missing from the lineup.
Still though the frustration and difficulty in swallowing a tough loss lingers. We have to ground ourselves a bit, Bearcats fans. UC lost by three in overtime on the road against the hottest team with the hottest quarterback in the Big East. Said quarterback did roll up 416 yards through the air on Cincinnati but was rattled all night by UC’s defense. He was just 9 of 22 at halftime and finished the game with his 2nd-to-lowest completion percentage of the year. It’s safe to say Cincinnati will never face a quarterback as good as Teddy Bridgwater for the rest of the regular season.
As such I don’t fear one more team on Cincinnati’s schedule. That includes you, Rutgers. If the Bearcats can play smart (i.e. not turn the ball over as much), focus on running the football on offense, stuff the run on defense like they did tonight, and continue to get sound play out of the secondary I see no reason that Cincinnati can’t reel off 5 straight wins to end the regular season. And at 10 – 2 that would be fan-freakin-tastic for a team in the middle of a transition year.