Oct 30, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats wide receiver Anthony McClung (6) carries the ball against Memphis Tigers during the second quarter at Liberty Bowl Memorial. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati 34, Memphis 21: Bearcats Bowl Eligible Yet Again With Win Over Tigers

Cincinnati finally played a good game on the road. After getting ran out of Champagne by Illinois, performing horribly in Oxford against Miami (OH), and dropping one of the most excruciating games ever to South Florida in Tampa, the Bearcats seemed to put everything together on the road. Brendon Kay threw an ill-timed redzone interception at the beginning of the fourth quarter but otherwise he continued his impressive play over the last couple of weeks. His line, 27/35 for 321 yards, a touchdown, and that turnover, was reflective of the UC quarterback we saw in the second half of 2012.

Kay spread the ball around well tonight but found Anthony McClung and Shaq Washington more than the others. Again, it’s clear he’s settled into a comfort zone in this offense. Washington continued his impressive play. He put up another double-digit receptions against Memphis, making it the third game this season he’s caught more than ten passes. Shaq “Mr. First Down” Washington now has 49 catches this year, more than any receiver during the entire 2012 season and as many catches as Anthony McClung in 2011. It’s incredible how he’s established himself as Brendon Kay’s go-to receiver this season.

The Bearcats’ defense continued its stifling ways. They held Memphis to just 3.8 yards per play, only allowed the Tigers to complete 2 of 12 third downs, and forced a pair of turnovers. The offense Cincinnati was playing aren’t exactly world beaters but you have to praise them for another solid performance.

There were again issues on specials teams, particularly out of kicker Tony Miliano. It’s clear something is wrong with him. Miliano missed a field goal and an extra point tonight. He’s now made just 3 of 8 field goals this season and looks rattled out there before he even lines up for a kick. If Andrew Gantz isn’t pushing him in practice I truly fear what might happen if the Bearcats wind up needing Miliano’s leg to win or tie a game this season.

But despite their warts, this is still a very well-rounded football team that’s very much an AAC title contender with three wins in the conference. At 6-2 overall Cincinnati is yet again bowl eligible, making it the seven out of the last eight years that UC will be heading to the postseason. This is just more proof that the Bearcats have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in college football.

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