It was a so-so day on the UC front yesterday. Even though it started off well with a victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers on the hardwood, the Bearcats got absolutely demolished by the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Belk Bowl. Sweeping the day would have been great but beggars can’t be choosers, I suppose. Below are various reactions to both games.
Recapping The Belk Bowl
Cincinnati turned in their worst performance of the season against North Carolina and paid for it with a 39-17 beat down. UC fell down 16-0 due to a couple of special teams mishaps, a hole from which they couldn’t recover. The game was never close after that. It was really disappointing. It was a disappointing capper on what turned out to be a disappointing season the more I think about it.
Given the injuries and the rust that Brendon Kay was going to have after not practicing for three weeks a slow start was all but assured once again on offense. What happened has a lot in common with the USF loss, right down to the two non offensive scores for the Tar Heels, three if you want to count the safety in that total.
With the win, North Carolina broke the .500 mark finishing the 2013 season at 7-6, 4-4 in the ACC. Cincinnati fell to 9-4, and went 6-2 in the American Athletic Conference.
Cincinnati (9-4) was looking to become the bowl’s first back-to-back champion since Virginia did it 10 years ago, but Brendon Kay — the MVP last year — was limited to 181 yards passing and no touchdowns.
Nebraska isn’t great shakes but the Cats were able to put them away with the same ease they have most of the non-conference foes they’ve faced. I’m ready for conference play.
I have made this point before, but it seems more obvious than ever that the Bearcats need to put the ball in the hands of Troy Caupain and ride with the freshman. He is the best, and probably only chance the Bearcats have to form something resembling competence outside of the play of Sean Kilpatrick.
Nebraska hit 9 of 20 3-pointers, but frontcourt players Shavon Shields and Walter Pitchford were a combined 2 of 16 from the field.
The Bearcats led 35-27 at halftime behind Johnson’s 11 points. The Cornhuskers had trouble finding open shots against Cincinnati’s trapping defense and shot only 34 percent from the field in the half with five turnovers.
The Huskers had a hard time finishing shots inside, scoring only 14 in the paint, and had a hard time defending them as well as the Bearcats scored 34 from the same range. Justin Jackson hurt the Huskers inside, finishing with 15 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.