I completely forgot to write about the Fordham game yesterday. For some reason, the thought didn't cross my mind until late in the day. That says something about me, but it also says something about this game. It was not a memorable contest. Despite my forgetting to write a full report, that was much better than this Cincinnati.com headline that's still there 3 days later.
This is the leading source of Bearcats news. The headline writer could not be bothered to get the score correct. That's some great journalism. If you are going to trot out a generic headline light on puns, unlike this one, you best get the score of the game correct.
If you were looking for a lock down first half to inspire a blowout win, you were once again disappointed with the first half. It can't be easy to get up for the Delaware State's, the Miami's, the Fordham's, but with a real threat from a lower conference looming on Saturday night, the doldrums have to stop. The Bearcats can coast against teams like this that can't match their talent. They can't coast against Toledo and some of the lesser Big East teams. Connecticut, Temple, Syracuse, they aren't sexy on paper. But they have talent. If they keep it close for a half, they can steal the game. A slow start on Saturday could be a downfall. It's mid-October, time to come out and play a full game.
The Bearcats popped some big plays with the offense. That was something that had been missing somewhat. Travis Kelce's 78 yard reception, RDA IV's 36 yard run and Danny Milligan's 28 yard catch all went for scores. Add in the Deven Drane fumble recovery and that's 4 of the 7 scores going for over 25 yards.
Teams like Fordham should not be able to run the ball on the Cincinnati defense. The Rams put just 42 net yards on the Bearcats. If you take out the 33 Ryan Higgins lost because of the sacks, it was 57 yards. Fordham's leading rusher Carlton Koonce ran for 72 yards on 22 carries, a 3.3 yard average. He was shut down. The longest rush of the day for him, and the Rams, was just 12 yards.
The pass defense was not very good. Ryan Higgins carved up the Bearcats to the tune of 31-42, 262 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs. Brian Wetzel caught 9 passes for 121 yards and the score. I know UC wasn't bringing out the big guns and the creative game plan, but watching Fordham of all teams march up and down the field with drives of 12, 10, 11, 7, and 13 was not very fun to watch. Adjustments need to be made.
As expected, George Winn got a lightened load in the running game. He had 13 carries for 75 yards. No other Bearcat had more than 5 carries. Ralph David Abernathy had 5-51-1 TD. Brendon Kay was the 3rd leading rusher with 29 yards. The group shined more than any one individual. The Bearcats had 33 carries for 210 yards and 4 TDs. That's a 6.4 yard average. Winn, Abernathy, Kay, and Tion Green all had runs of over 20 yards. Abernathy, Brendon Kay, Jordan Luallen and Munchie Legaux all ran for scores. It was a game that the Bearcats could dominate on the ground. It was a game the Bearcats did dominate on the ground.
Munchie Legaux was very solid. He did had his frustrating moments. He started the game 5-5 for 118 yards, 1 TD and then threw 7 incompletions in a row. After that, he finished 10-12 for 144 yards and 1 score. It's hard to look big picture sometimes, but that's what has to be done. If Zach Collaros had the same numbers Munchie had, people wouldn't be losing their shit. When you expect Munchie to throw incomplete passes, throw near interceptions and nearly fumble, all things he did Saturday, you are only going to see that aspect. Munchie had a good game. See the forest for the trees.
Travis Kelce had 101 yards receiving. Of all the people to pull of a 100 yard receiving game, Travis Kelce would have ranked very low on that list. Kelce has twice broken his career high in receiving yards for a game this season. He's shattered his career high in receiving yards in a season. His senior year has gotten off to a great start.
Alex Chisum is alive! 2 catches for 45 yards.
Chris Moore had an 11 yard reception. It was the first catch of his career. Congrats, Chris.
Danny Milligan had 2 catches for 39 yards and a TD. He had a 42 yard punt return. #Thrilligan
Drew Frey didn't play so all Malcolm Murray did was lead the Bearcats with 6 tackles. He had a tackle for loss. Way to be, Malcolm.
The Bearcats had 7 tackles for loss, got credit for 2 sacks and forced 2 fumbles. The 3rd sack was from pressure from Jordan Stepp. The QB dropped the ball. In fact, the QB dropped the ball on every sack. Dan Giordano's sack and strip led to the TD. Walter Stewart had a sack and forced a fumble Fordham recovered. The other 4 tackles for a loss went to Greg Blair, Chris Williams, Elijah Shuler and Camaron Beard.
The defense got the Bearcats on the board for the second week in a row. Last week it was the Cameron Cheatham INT. This week it was Giordano forcing a fumble and Deven Drane picking it up and going 76 yards for a score. Getting turnovers is one thing. Cashing those turnovers in directly is even better.
Adrian Witty had 4 tackles, but one stood out. He took a Fordham player down with a spine buster like he was Triple H against the Undertaker. Witty has a reputation for laying the big shots. He lived up to it.
We saw a rare kicker showcase with the Fordham kicker/punter Patrick Murray. Murray booted 4 punts for an average of 47.2 yards, 2 inside the 20. He was 3-4 on field goals, hitting from 46, 38 and a booming 55 yarder. He also put 3 of his 5 kickoffs in the end zone for touchbacks. The last Murray field goal game with around 7 minutes left on a 4th and short. The rare padding of kicker stats.
Pat O'Donnell was his typical POD punting and kickoff machine, but as a holder, he forgot the Ace Ventura rule. LACES OUT, PAT.
The Cincinnati Bearcats are 5-0. Bring on Toledo.
Images via Cincinnati.com