If you weren't around yesterday, the project for the next 5 weeks is a countdown of the Bearcats Blog top 30 Bearcats. These are 30 people who, when you say their name, you instantly think of Cincinnati Bearcats athletics and their accomplishments. When I asked myself who was a great Bearcat and out of those, who were my favorites, these 30 made the list. We started yesterday with #30 Jonathan Ruffin. The ring of honor theme continues today.
Out of all the quarterbacks who have worn a Cincinnati Bearcats uniform, only one of them started all 4 seasons. That man was Gino Guidugli. Gino was a local product from Highlands high school in Ft Thomas. He went on to shatter Bearcat records.
Gino's UC career started with a bang. He went 31-41, 311 yards, 3 TDs in his first game, a 24-21 win over Army. He had another great game a couple weeks later against Tulane by going 22-32, 312 yards, 4 TDs in a 46-33 Bearcat win. Guidugli went off again in a 29-28 win against Houston by going 19-27, 317 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. With the Bearcats 4-2, Gino had 9 TDs against 3 INTs.
The Houston game would be the last game he completed over 60% of his passes, but he would have highs and lows. The freshman threw 3 INTs in a 19-46 passing day in a 28-13 loss to Louisville. He went for 245 yards in a win over UConn, but just 12-25 for 167 yards and 1 INT in a tough loss to East Carolina. He was knocked out of that game for a time.
Gino finished the season on a very high note. He hit 18-36 for 348 yards and 2 TDs in a 36-34 win over Memphis. In the regular season finale, Guidugli was 17-30 for 218 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT in a 42-10 win over Louisiana-Monroe that sent the Bearcats to the Motor City Bowl. Gino was 29-46 for 283 yard and a TD, but a late pass to Ray Jackson that would have tied the score was knocked from Jackson's hands. The Bearcats lost 23-16.
Guidugli's freshman season saw him finish 185-317, 58.4%, with 2,573 yards, 16 TDs and 9 INTs. He was 1st in Conference USA in yards per attempt, 2nd in adjusted yards per attempt, 2nd in efficiency, 3rd in TDs, 3rd in completion percentage, 4th in attempts and completions, 4th in passing yards, and 4th in INTs. Gino was named the Conference USA freshman of the year. He also won the Claude Rost Award for Bearcats MVP.
The sophomore season for the Bearcats QB got off to a shaky start. The Bearcats won their season opener over TCU, but Gino was 18-38, 287 yards, 2 TDs with a then career high 4 INTs. Guidugli bounced back with a 20-30, 275 yard, 2 TD performance against West Virginia. He led a furious rally from down 35-17, but the Bearcats couldn't get an onside kick and lost 35-32.
The next game of the season is one of the reasons some UC fans hold a negative opinion about Gino Guidugli. It was the Ohio State game. For the first time in 91 years, OSU was playing in Cincinnati. Guidugli led a first drive TD, but the extra point was missed. The Bearcats added a field goal and were up 9-0. The Bearcats took a 12-7 lead into halftime, and a 19-16 lead into the 4th quarter. Midway through the quarter, Gino was sacked and fumbled away to Ohio State as the Bearcats drove into OSU territory. The Buckeyes scored to take the lead. Guidugli got the Bearcats to the Buckeye 15. A dropped pass by Jon Olinger was followed by a pass that George Murray couldn't hold on to. On 4th down, this happened.
Gino was 26-52, 324 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs for the game. He and the team bounced back against Temple, thanks to 312 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT from the sophomore. Guidugli had his 3rd straight 300 yard passing performance, 353, against Miami, but 2 INTs were part of a 31-26 loss. The losing streak hit 3 when Guidugli threw 3 INTs in a blowout against Tulane and was 12-27 for 143 yards against Southern Miss.
With the season on the ropes, Guidugli bounced back. He hit 21-34 for 225 yards with an INT in a win over Memphis. He had a terrible first half agaisnt Louisville, 3-13, 3 yards. Gino went for 117 second half yards and won one of the worst offensive games in the Keg of Nails series. Guidugli went off for 14-23, 238, 3 TDs in a blowout of Houston to get the Bearcats back to .500. He had a poor 19-41, 231, 1 TD, 1 INT performance in a loss at Hawaii, but threw for 243 yards and 2 TDs to beat UAB. Gino sent UC to another bowl game by going 15-28, 323 yards and matching his then career high with 4 TDs. In the New Orleans Bowl against North Texas, Guidugli threw a 1st quarter TD to put UC up 7-0. Then he threw 4 1st half INTs and added 1 in the second half as UC fell down 24-7 and lost 24-19. It was the worst game of Gino's career.
Gino finished his sophomore year by going 258-472 with 3,543 yards, 22 TDs and 21 INTs. He ran for a career high 3 TDs. Gino was 1st in C-USA in completions, 1st in attempts, 1st in yards, 1st in passing efficiency, 1st in INTs, 2nd in yards per attempt, 3rd in Touchdowns, 3rd in completion percentage, and 3rd in adjusted yards per attempt. He ranked 8th in the NCAA in yards, 10th in attempts and 3rd in interceptions.
The junior season for Gino Guidugli started off win 3 wins. He was solid in a 40-3 demolition of East Carolina with 125 yards and a TD. He was 17-35, 146 yards, 1 TD in a 15-13 win at West Virginia. The touchdown was a record breaker. It was the 40th passing TD for Gino, which passed Danny McCoin for the all time Cincinnati lead. The 3rd win of the season didn't come easily. The Bearcats needed 3 overtimes to beat Temple 30-24. Guidugli led a 14 point 4th quarter comeback to tie the score. He finished the game by going 29-43, 321, 1 TD, with a career high 71 rushing yards. Guidugli became the Bearcats all time leader in offense in this game, a record he still holds.
The good times for the Bearcats pretty much ended after that win. In large part because Guidugli went into a slump. He was 17-39, 226, 2 TDs, 1 INT in a 42-37 loss to Miami that was at one point a 42-17 game. He was a horrible 11-25, 106, 1 TD, 2 INTs in a 22-20 loss to Southern Miss. UC blew a 20-6 lead. Gino threw a late INT that ended any UC comeback hopes. He was 21-43, 219 in a blowout loss to UAB. UC beat Army, but Gino was 17-28, 159, 1 INT. The Bearcats dropped a double OT game at USF when Guidugli, 20-36, 212, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, threw the 2nd INT in the 2nd overtime after USF had already scored.
Gino rounded into the form he was expected to have all season the last 4 games. He was 20-28, 332, a season high 3 TDs, 1 INT against Rhode Island. He was 24-44, 254, 1 TD, 2 INTs in a blowout loss at TCU. Guidugli was having a good game yardage wise against Memphis, 272, but with UC up 16-14, he threw an INT that was returned to the UC 10 and the Bearcats lost 21-16. Gino had a big game against Louisville, 20-40, 336 yards, 1 TD, 68 rushing yards, and overcame a 21 point deficit, but a late game winning drive failed. The Bearcats lost and Rick Minter lost his job.
Guidugli's junior year was a disappointment numbers wise, as it was on the field. It was his worst statistical year as a Bearcat. He finished 227-425, 53.4%, 14 TDs, and 10 INTs. He did run for a career best 166 yards, but it was the only year of his career he did not score a TD. Gino was 3rd in C-USA in pass attempts, 4th in completions, 5th in TDs, 5th in yards, 5th in INTs, 7th in completion percentage, 8th in yards per attempts, 8th in adjusted yards per attempt, and 8th in passing efficiency.
The senior season for Gino Guidugli didn't get off to a great start. He went 17-36, 162 yards in the season opening loss to Ohio State. Gino got to ring the Victory Bell in the next game though, as he finally beat Miami 45-26. Gino went 12-23, 258, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 1 rushing TD. He put his worst game of the season out next though. He was 14-25, 155, 1 TD, 3 INTs in a 19-7 loss to Syracuse. Gino had 155 yards the next week against East Carolina as well on the same 14-25, but this time he threw 2 TDs against 1 INT and the Bearcats were victorious. Guidugli had solid numbers against UAB, 29-52, 300, 3 TDs, 1 INT, but the INT was a pick 6 and put UC down 20-3. The Bearcats got within 3 a couple time, but lost 30-27. One of the team low-lights and the valley of the season followed. Army had lost 19 straight games. Guidugli led UC to an opening drive TD, but the Bearcats were down 26-7 early in the second quarter. Gino threw for 3 more first half TDs to cut the Army lead to 32-29 at halftime. But despite Guidugli going 25-39, 350, 4 TDs, 1 INT, the Bearcats lost 48-29. Army tore down the goalposts after the game. This was the last game Gino Guidugli ever lost as a Bearcat.
After a week of contemplation about their horrible loss, Gino and the Bearcats came out kicking ass. Guidugli was 13-18, 182, 3 TDs in a 49-10 win over Memphis. He was 13-26, 155, 1 TD, 43 rush yards in a 21-10 win over TCU that got the Bearcats back to .500 and put them at 3-2 in league play. The Bearcats stomped Southern Miss 52-24 behind a career game from number 8. He was 19-26, 308 yards with a career high 5 TDs. That was followed by a career best 377 yards on a career best 83.3% passing, 30-36, with 3 TDs. UC romped USF 45-23. The bad news was the Guidugli broke a bone in his hand at his house and missed the regular season finale. He was able to return for the Fort Worth Bowl against Marshall. The return didn't get off to a great start when Gino threw a pick 6 to put UC down 14-10. It was his first INT since October. He came back strong with 2 second quarter TDs to put UC up 24-14 at the half. The Bearcats won 32-14. Guidugli was 24-36, 231 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT. In this game, he broke the single season record for touchdown passes in a season. That record has since been broken. Gino Guidugli won his last 5 games as a Bearcat.
The senior season stats for Gino were quite solid. He completed 210 of 342 passes, 61.4%, a career high, for 2,633 yards, 26 TDs and 8 INTs, a career low. His efficiency rate was a career best 146.5. He ran for 90 yards and a touchdown. He finished 1st in C-USA in TDs, 2nd in completions, 3rd in completion percentage, 4th in yards, 4th in attempts, 4th in efficiency, 4th in INTs, 5th in adjusted yards per attempt, and 6th in yards per attempt.
From the decade of 2000-11, Gino was 5th in Conference USA in completions, 4th in attempts, 21st in completion percentage, 4th in yards, 9th in yards per attempt, 12th in adjusted yards per attempt, 9th in TDs, 2nd in INTs, and 15th in passing efficiency. He led in nearly all of those categories when he graduated. Gino was 22nd in the NCAA in attempts, 21st in yards and 15th in INTs in that decade span.
Why He Made the List
Gino Guidugli had one of the best QB careers in Bearcats history. He had pretty much every passing record one could imagine when he left Cincinnati. Gino Guidulgi helped set the standard that we expect the quarterbacks of today to adhere. So why is he so low on the list? It's because, as good as he was, Gino was never great. He was a very solid quarterback. He was never the best quarterback in the conference. He was a guy that put out good performances, but also put out some bad ones. He had the one bad year with the INTs, but it seemed like every INT he threw in his career came at a horrible time. Part of the reason I have him so low is because it seemed like Gino should have been more. His freshman season showed a lot of promise. His sophomore season was one of great stats and something you could point at and say "If he just got the INTs down, he could be special." He did get the INTs down, but he wasn't special. His career was very good, 3 bowl games in 4 years, lots of records, but it was kind of disappointing because UC was basically the same his whole career. 7-5, 7-7, 5-7, 7-5. It wasn't until after he was gone and Brian Kelly showed up that UC took the next step. It's not really Gino's fault, but it's held against him. His reputation off the field of being a dick has nothing really to do with this since I didn't know him and all I heard were the same stories you did. In the end, his place on the list is here and it seems right.
What He's Doing Now
After not getting drafted and not being able to hang on with an NFL team, Gino went to the CFL. He played with the BC Lions for one year. He played with the New York Dragons and the Green Bay Blizzard of the areana league before being a graduate assistant at Central Michigan. He left that post to go back to the AFL. He's a QB with the Milwaukee Mustangs. He was 373-587, 63.5%, 86 TDs, 25 INTs. The Mustangs finished 5-13.