I liked doing the 10 thoughts immediately following the game last week, so I'll do the same this week after Cincinnati's 35-24 victory over Syracuse. It's much better than the normal scatterbrained recap that comes when I do pieces after games. Follow me to number 1.
1) Brendon Kay replaced Munchie Legaux
Let's start with what everyone is going to be talking about next week. After Munchie threw a pass in the worst place for a defensive back to catch the ball, right in his chest, for an incompletion, Brendon Kay entered the game. UC had a short field. Kay threw his 1st career TD pass on a throwback screen to Travis Kelce. It was the go ahead score to make it 28-24. Munchie wasn't completely awful, 11-22, 124 yards, 1 INT, 39 rushing yards. The INT he threw was bad. The one that was dropped was a wild overthrow. He fumbled at the goal line on a questionable review. Once you make a move like this, you don't go back. Brendon Kay is your starting quarterback.
2) George Winn
George Winn had himself a career day. He had 30 carries for 169 yards and 3 TDs. Also, he did this.
That's right, George Winn threw a jump pass for a touchdown. He even made a tackle on a punt. If you can do something, George Winn did it. I don't know if he will win the Big East Offensive Player of the Week award, Teddy Bridgewater went nuts, but George Winn made quite the case. UC would not have won if 32 wasn't a tank. Stay forever, George Winn.
3) The second half defense was very good
Syracuse was held to 1 score in the second half. That came on their second drive. The defense did what needed to be done. Per the man Paul Dehner Jr, Syracuse went fumble, punt, missed field goal, punt, turnover on downs their last 5 drives. That will win you some games. Shout out to Chris Williams. He made some good plays. His sack and strip was the game turner.
4) The first half defense was very bad
Syracuse had over 300 yards in the first half. They converted 3rd downs with relative ease. They ran all over the Bearcats. UC turned the ball over 3 times. Syracuse scored all 3 times. Syracuse ran for nearly 200 yards.
5) Syracuse kind of gave this one away
The Orange dropped 2 TD passes. The second had a nice play by a UC DB, I think Orr, made on it, but it was still dropped. Following those drops UC blocked a kick and Syracuse missed a field goal. Syracuse also fumbled the opening kickoff which led to a UC TD. Ryan Nassib was sacked and fumbled at the 14. That led to the go ahead TD. That's a 28 point swing. If you throw in the pick 6 that was dropped, Syracuse left at least 21 points on the field. The Orange also had over 100 yards in penalties. They are really going to regret losing this game.
6) Brandon Mills blocked a field goal
He didn't do anything special to block it, but he blocked it. It was fun.
7) The receivers came through
Travis Kelce had 77 receiving yards and 2 TDs. Guys continually try to take him down with shoulder blows, looking at you number 3 on Syracuse, and they can't do it. Kelce is such a beast that he knocked down Dan Sprague in the end zone on his 2nd TD catch. Kelce has been a revelation this year. Also for the first time this year, we got a lot of Anthony McClung. He had 5 catches for 75 yards. He took a couple of hard shots on 2 of them. He earned his yards this afternoon. I like Anthony McClung. Glad to see him play well.
8) The penalties were out of control
UC had 8 penalties for 94 yards. There were multiple holding penalties on long runs. Travis Kelce was called for 2 personal fouls. If there is 1 thing you can do as an opposing defender, you can get Travis Kelce to get called for a personal foul. He is a hot head.
9) The officials
The officiating in this game was ridiculous. George Winn fumbled at the UC 10. Syracuse recovered. It was clear as day. UC kept the ball and that was good. Munchie's fumble was a questionable play. I don't know the rule, the announcers seemed to not know it either, but that play was crazy. There was also the pass that Nassib threw when he was hit by Williams that was called a fumble. We saw a play like this earlier in the year. If the ball goes 5 yards down the field, it is not a fumble! It's not that hard. Yet that review took 15 minutes.
10) This was the longest game of our lives
I feel like we should all get some kind of trophy or medal or t shirt for making it through this one. It was roughly a 4 hour game. It felt like 127 hours. I felt like cutting off my arm during the hour long first quarter. It would be one thing if the quarter featured all of the points. It was 10-7 after the 1st. There was no excuse. But we survived. We did it everyone.
Cincinnati is 6-2. They are 2-1 in the Big East. Be happy this weekend, everybody.
Photo via ESPN/AP. Click continue reading for the stats.