#6: SPECIAL TEAMS TRICKERY!
There were just so many good things that happened in the Rutgers game this season. Everything went Cincinnati’s way, unlike in the previous two meetings when the Bearcats couldn’t score more than a touchdown combined in those games. But not last season. No, in 2013 Cincinnati could do no wrong, rolling up over 600 yards of offense, scoring 52 points, boasting three different players who threw for touchdowns, and holding
Perhaps no events illustrate just how much the planets were aligned in UC’s favor that day than two exciting special teams plays.
The first occurred after Cincinnati’s second touchdown. With the Bearcats up 17-7 late in the first quarter, Tommy Tuberville decided to surprise Rutgers on the ensuing kickoff. Lined up in the standard formation, UC was positioned to simply kick the ball back to the Scarlet Knights and let their defense go to work. Not so. Just as Cincinnati kicker Tony Miliano approached the tee, he sidestepped, and booted it towards the near sidelines. It fell into the waiting arms of a UC corner Leviticus Payne almost exactly 10 yards downfield. The play couldn’t have been more perfectly executed.
The next head turning moment occurred just a few minutes later. With UC’s offense stalling in their own territory, Tuberville called for the punting unit to send the ball back to the Scarlet Knights. But once again he channeled his inner riverboat gambler. Punter John Lloyd lined up naturally in the standard formation just like Tony Miliano a couple of drives earlier. But like his special team counterpart, Lloyd caught Rutgers off guard. As he took the snap, the punter faked like he would boot the ball away but pulled it down and sprinted down the right sidelines for a first down.
Honestly it looked like a broken play as the Scarlet Knights crashed around Lloyd, who appeared to make a judgement call and pull the ball down as opposed to having it blocked. But Tuberville insists it was all just part of the plan and it worked out perfectly for Cincinnati. Regardless, Lloyd’s fake punt along with Tony Miliano’s onside kick were good for 6th in our countdown.