Cincinnati Football: Takeaways from Bearcats disappointing performance in Fenway Bowl

Cincinnati Bearcats safety Ja'von Hicks intercepts a pass against the Louisville Cardinals during the Fenway Bowl. USA Today.
Cincinnati Bearcats safety Ja'von Hicks intercepts a pass against the Louisville Cardinals during the Fenway Bowl. USA Today. /
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With a new era on the horizon following a disappointing Fenway Bowl performance, the Bearcats have plenty of work to do in the summer to prepare for Big 12 competition next year.

In addition to the offensive line struggling to protect the pocket against Louisville, sophomore quarterback Evan Prater continues to flash promise with very little consistency to back it up.

It’s unknown what Prater will do moving forward with a decision to stay in Clifton and compete for the starting job under Satterfield and quarterbacks coach Pete Thomas or transfer elsewhere.

Despite throwing for just 83 yards and getting sacked seven times in the Fenway Bowl, I’m hoping Prater comes back because I still think he has the potential to develop into a reliable starter.

Cincinnati Football: Takeaways from Bearcats disappointing performance in Fenway Bowl

In the Fenway Bowl loss to Louisville, the Bearcats had a handful of players with notable statistical performances including linebacker trio Deshawn Pace, Ivan Pace Jr and Jaheim Thomas.

With the offseason just getting started, it’s unclear who will return next fall but Pace Jr is expected to declare for the NFL draft, while Pace and Thomas have an option to return with a new staff.

Pace Jr totaled a game-high 16 tackles, one tackle for loss and one sack against Louisville, which could be his final game after becoming the first unanimous All-American in Bearcats 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.

Corleone earned All-AAC First Team honors and suffered a season-ending injury last month before announcing he’ll return for his sophomore year, which was a much-needed boost.

Bearcats defensive coordinator Bryan Brown will be tasked with rebuilding the defense on the fly and Corleone is expected to be at the center of it following a dominant redshirt freshman season.

Next. Cincinnati Football: Statistical break down from Fenway Bowl loss against Louisville. dark