As has been talked up all week long, the fans were urged to show their support of this team by filling Nippert Stadium. Well they did, 34,526 of them to be exact. They were loud all game long, forcing Rutgers into a flurry of offensive penalties, and really made Nippert the hornets nest we’ve all grown to appreciate. I was very, very impressed with them today. But you know who was a major disappointment? The UC offense. Seven times they drove into Rutgers territory and barely sniffed the endzone.
If not for a garbage time field goal in the waning minutes of the game the Bearcats would have been shut out for the first time since November 9th, 2005. Yikes. Three points wasn’t exactly what I hoping for from an offense that averaged 34 points per game, even if they were facing a stout Scarlet Knights defense. The Bearcats were clicking on all cylinders especially with UC finding a vertical passing game last week against Temple. But today Cincinnati’s workhorse George Winn was held to just 35 yards on the ground and Brendon Kay threw for 251 yards but two costly interceptions that absolutely killed UC’s drives.
Overall Rutgers did an excellent job slowing Cincinnati down today but the Bearcats didn’t do themselves any favors not taking advantage of opportunities when presented to them. Essentially I was disappointed with the play on the field but not the gameplan. John Jancek’s defense was its usual suffocating self and Mike Bajakian threw in some creative wrinkles to get his playmakers the ball. But Cincinnati just couldn’t make enough big plays to overcome their sloppiness and in failing to do so fell short to a better team this afternoon.
With this loss UC has effectively dropped out of the Big East title race but there is still plenty to play for. If the Bearcats finish the season with two wins and beat their bowl opponent Cincinnati will boast the 4th 10-win season in the five years. That’s a huge accomplishment for this program and a feat we should all be proud of.