In the midst of a coaching change, the Bearcats were hoping to finish the season on a positive note before falling flat in a 24-7 loss against Louisville in the Fenway Bowl in Boston today.
It was a disappointing conclusion to the roller coaster campaign that included plenty of promise but will be remembered for falling short of expectations and losing head coach Luke Fickell.
Even though there were a lot of memorable moments this season, it will be difficult to look past the last few weeks after losing to Tulane on Senior Day then getting beat down by Louisville.
Cincinnati fell down by a touchdown in the first quarter and trailed by double digits at halftime before losing a third straight game against Louisville to finish the season with a 9-4 record.
Cincinnati Football: Bearcats fall flat in Fenway Bowl loss against rival Louisville
Bearcats quarterback Evan Prater struggled in his second career start with just 83 passing yards but the offensive line failed to protect him as Louisville’s defense racked up seven sacks.
In the second quarter, Cincinnati showed some life as Prater somehow avoided a sack and found Wyatt Fischer for a 20-yard touchdown to tie the game before going scoreless from that point.
Despite coming up short, linebacker Ivan Pace Jr finished his historic season with a team-high 16 tackles and one sack after recently becoming the first unanimous All-American in school history.
Louisville running back duo Jawhar Jordan and Maurice Turner were unstoppable as the Bearcats depleted defense couldn’t hold up without All-AAC defensive tackle Dontay Corleone and others.
Following the loss at Fenway Park, Bearcats interim head coach Kerry Coombs broke down how the program will respond moving forward during a press conference per Cincinnati Athletics.
"“This is a team that was in the playoffs last year and these kids came back and fought. We had three one-score losses and then coach Fickell leaves and the bottom kind of falls out for them. All they did was keep showing up every day and working for each other. It’s always about the team and those kids have given the younger players something to live up to. I’m obviously disappointed and I wish I was able to do more for these kids. For the opportunity to be able to stand and fight with them, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It didn’t go the way we wanted but it was a privilege and I’m proud of them. They get three weeks off and they need it. When they get back, we’re going to have something to prove. We’re at our best when we have a chip on our shoulder. Our kids will show up in January in the weight room with coach Satterfield and a new staff, and will be passionate about getting back to work. I know that about them and I’m looking forward to it.”"