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.