Oct 11, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Brendon Kay (11) looks to pass during the second quarter against the Temple Owls at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati 38, Temple 20: That's More Like It

Unlike in the previous four games, Cincinnati didn’t win tonight in spite of their offense. In fact, it was the Bearcats offense that paved the way to UC’s victory over the Temple Owls. The reason was an impeccable game plan drawn up by offensive coordinator Eddie Gran. The issue in the loss to South Florida and the frighteningly close win over Miami (OH) was that the schemes were too complicated. In that, Gran called plays that incorporated complex wide receiver routes deep downfield that an already rattled Brendon Kay couldn’t process fast enough. It’s a new system and this wasn’t an unforeseen problem heading into this season.

As such, Gran dialed it back greatly tonight, calling for primarily short passes and screens against the Temple Owls. It worked to a tee! Kay looked remarkably more confident in the pocket, completing 31 of 37 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns. He complimented that with 18 yards and a score on the ground. Kay also distributed the ball well, connecting with eight different receivers tonight. It was an impressive performance and hopefully one we see repeated many times going forward so long as Gran continues to simplify his offense.

The defense, though, was a hot mess in the first half. They allowed Temple, a team that averages about two touchdowns on offense per game, to score 20 points before halftime. The problem was weak tackling, poor contain, and loose coverage in the secondary. Art Kaufman cleaned up those errors in the second half. The Bearcats held Temple scoreless after halftime and got back to their regular stinginess on that side of the ball.

Overall, this was an uplifting win where there Bearcats showed signs of much asked for consistency on offense. Temple isn’t the best litmus test to judge a team but at least the Eddie Gran detractors were silenced for one night. He called a great game and hopefully we see a similar pattern going forward. As far as the defense is concerned, I have no worries with their performance tonight. They were sloppy in the first half but all of that around after halftime. I trust Art Kaufman’s judgement and his second half adjustments further solidified my trust in him.

Great game, great win, on to UConn.

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Tags: Bearcats Bearcats Football Cincinnati Owls Temple

  • themtj

    The offense ended up looking a lot better on paper than they did on the field. Lots of mistakes and lots of poor playcalls, too many screens and for pete’s sake can we stop running RDA4 up the gut when Tion Green has proven ability to do that? I Love RDA but you’ve gotta find the right place for him in this offense.

    Kay was great, Tion was great. O-line needs to cut back the penalties, receivers got better as the game went on but still some inexplicable drops.

    • Chris

      I agree with everything you said other than the “poor playcalls” portion. Other than the mind-numbingly bizarre choice to run RDA up the middle in the 2nd half, I thought Eddie Gran called a fantastic game. Short passes and screens were exactly what a confidence-depleted Brendon Kay needed, and he responded with 300 yards and 3 touchdowns against Temple. I hope we see a more condensed system like for the rest of this season.

      • themtj

        Condensed system may have provided a confidence boost which is a good thing but it just won’t work against better defenses. If we keep up this garbage dip and dunk we’re going to find ourselves in a Butch Jones situation where we complete 3 consecutive passes for a total of 7 yards and end up punting on a 3 and out drive.

        Now that Kay is looking healthy again it’s time to let these receivers stretch the field. If we stick to short passing and running then we’ll really let the defense cheat up on us.

        I’m still not sold on Gran, I think he’d be a great coordinator in the MAC or Patriot League but we’re going to need something better than this mid-major stuff that we’ve been calling for the first half of the season.

        All this being said, I won’t be complaining if this “condensed” offense takes us to the Orange Bowl, I just don’t see it happening. This system won’t work on any of our remaining road games (Memphis, Houston and Rutgers) and is unlikely to work against Louisville. That would put us at 6-6 for the season.

        • Chris

          I mean, the proof is in the pudding. Cincinnati stretched the field against Miami (OH) and South Florida and the offense sputtered. Cincinnati condensed the offense against Temple and the offense flourished. I wouldn’t say Temple’s defense is any better or worse than Miami or USF and if they’ve found a way to get more out of this offense then by all means they should stick to what’s working (which there hasn’t been a lot of this season, quite frankly).

          I agree that *normally* a condensed offense doesn’t work – heck I’ve cursed many a bad word when watching bubble screen after bubble screen thrown in Butch Jones’ offense. But given the way stretching the field hasn’t proved to be a success this year due to 1) Kay’s inability grasp the new offense and 2) the offensive line’s health, simplifying the offense is the best route to go.

          In reality, the Bearcats defense is so good we don’t need the offense to be off-the-charts great. It just needs to be “average”, which it hasn’t been up until Temple when Gran made those changes.

          • themtj

            Proof is in the pudding indeed! They’ve not been condensed today and they’ve been tearing it up. It’s all about execution and playcalling. If you don’t have your head on straight it doesn’t matter what you call. They’ve been mentally focused and confident today are handing it to a team that almost beat Michigan on the road.

            I’m not gloating just very happy that we didn’t have to scale back to a dip and dunk mid-major offense for the rest of the season.