#10: ADRIAN WITTY PICK 6 AGAINST PURDUE
The Cincinnati Bearcats have gotten off to some fast starts to their football seasons in the last couple of years. In 2011 it was a 72-10 smack down of the FCS Austin Peay Governors in which UC scored on their first offensive play from scrimmage. In 2012 it was a 34-10 win over the Pitt Panthers on Thursday night in which the Bearcats again scored a touchdown on their first play of the game. Then this past season Cincinnati again jumped out to a white hot start against Purdue, stomping the Boilermakers 42-7 on a muggy afternoon in late August.
UC put on a pretty solid offensive showing, the final score and the total yardage (425) reflecting that. But it was the defense that shined on that day thanks in large part to Cincinnati safety Adrian Witty.
The junior started in the regular defense after spending his sophomore year on special teams. Witty was known as a hard hitter, as noted by this blast in the Liberty Bowl, but not much was known about his coverage skills. But the coaches had faith in him and opted to install Witty as Cincinnati’s starting strong safety. They were proven geniuses in the first game of the season.
With Purdue doing next to nothing offensively, again thanks to that suffocating UC defense, Boilermakers quarterback Rob Henry tried to close the 2 touchdown deficit in a hurry. On first and 10 from their own 17 yard line, PU* opted to go with a deep drop while sending their receivers on long routes downfield. It worked out horribly for the Boilermakers.
*Cue my immature giggling
Henry reared back and tried to hit his receiver running a deep post along the left side. But the Purdue quarterback grossly overthrew his intended target. Simultaneously, Witty, playing center field, read Henry’s eyes perfectly and positioned himself to intercept the pass. He did so with ease and sprinted back upfield. The safety picked up some blocks from his teammates and weaved his way past the arms of hopeless tacklers all the way to the endzone, sending the record crowd at Nippert Stadium into a frenzy.
See for yourself.
The pick 6 put Cincinnati up 28-7, with the extra point, and further solidified their dominance over Purdue in the game. Additionally it established Witty as a talented option for the Bearcats at strong safety and earned him the #10 spot in this countdown. Hopefully he keeps a good thing going into his senior year.