Sorry this is a bit late. By now, we have all probalby put the Delaware St game behind us. Everyone except for me. I'm going to keep kicking that dead horse. Sometimes dead horses need to be kicked. Especially when the Bearcats have their second bye week in the first 4 weeks of the season. This does mean that we will finally get to the end of the Bearcats Blog Countdown, which I'm sure will saitiate a need in the hearts of every American. Picking up a countdown about 2 weeks after leaving it isn't the best for continuation, but turning the ball over 6 times wasn't the best method for victory for our beloved Bearcats. That was a very smooth transition in my eyes. Don't take that away from me.
The key for this column is when you see this that's clapping Butch Jones and that's a positive. When you see this hands on hips, sad Butch Jones, it's a negative.
The biggest positive of all from Saturday night was George Winn. He ran 24 times for 147 yards. That's 6.1 yards a pop. Out of all his 24 attempts, Winn lost 1 yard. The man goes forward and he goes forward with a purpose. The running back job seemed wide open. George has not only taken the bull by the horns, he's dragged it 5 yards. It was Winn's first career 100 yard rushing game. Hopefully not his last.
The biggest negative were the turnovers. I touched on them some in the post game, and I'll touch on them more right now. I don't think that the turnovers Saturday are a sign that doom is coming. Clearly it was an anomoly. It's really hard to turn the ball over 6 times. 4 of those 6 were on fumbles. Fumbles are the crap shoot turnover. Some people are willing to write this up to a fluke. I'm leaning towards that side, but at the same time, Cincinnati has shown that they have the ability to turn the ball over a lot. It may be unlikely they will turn it over this much again, but we've seen it happen. It could happen again. There was a real possiblity Cincinnati could have turned the ball over 8 times. I'm willing to put the turnover talk behind glass, but you can't be surprised if the Bearcats break it in a loss.
I didn't think Munchie was horrible on Saturday night, but his modest numbers aren't good enough to cover up his haphazard protection of the ball. 4 of the 6 turnovers were from his hand. 1 of them wasn't something you would pin on him, as he was blindsided for a sack. For every positive, 20-27, 2 TDs, there were 2 INTs, 2 dropped INTs and 2 fumbles. He should be the starting quarterback. But the concentration issue is still there. For every 2 big plays he makes, there is one that makes you facepalm. That's from inexperience. It's no secret that October is UC's toughest month schedule wise. 3 of their 5 games are away from Nippert. The two toughest teams on the schedule bookend it. A tricky game at Toledo stands out. If the Cats are going to walk the maze to November contention, Munchie has to be better.
The Bearcats defense was very solid. They held the Hornets to 261 yards, 4.2 yards a play. Despite what it seemed, the Hornets had just 13 first downs. They converted 3 of 14 3rd downs on the UC defense. When the Bearcats tightened, the Hornets relented. UC needed a big play from the defense late, and they forced a fumble. Cincinnati has a very solid defense that should be able to keep them in games when the offense sputters.
There were 2 downsides for the defense. 1, they gave up a 60 yard TD run on a play they were absolutely not ready for. 2, 3 of the Delaware St first downs were because of penalties by the defense. Two of those were personal fouls. As a result, the crappy Delaware St offense went 3 and out just 3 times. For a while there, it was a problem. It was not a problem when it mattered.
The defense has given up a run of over 50 yards in the first two games of the season. They've given up back to back 100 yard rushers. Something to watch.
Aryn Chenault had his first career interception. Aaron Roberson had his first career sack. Those were the 2 Cincinnati turnovers. Congrats to both men.
Damon Julian had his first career start. He made his first career catch. He scored his first career touchdown. For the first time, he led the Bearcats in receiving. A big day for Julian. I don't think he's taken Alex Chisum's spot, but he certainly has earned himself more playing time.
The running back trio continues to work very well. Ralph David Abernathy IV ran 7 times for 52 yards. He caught 3 passes for 23 yards. He had 70 kick return yards, including a 47 yarder. That adds up to 145 yards. On the other side, Jameel Poteat ran 8 times for 44 yards, including the first TD of the game. Poteat caught a pass for a loss of a yard. Winn and RDA IV busted out 20+ plays, Poteat had a 10 yard play.
The offensive line played very well. There was the 1 missed protection on the sack/strip and a second sack, but they kicked ass. UC averaged 6.1 yards a play. They ran for 5.3 yards a carry. They were called for 0 penalties. The group is one of, if not the best, in the league. They are showing it right now.
I called out the receivers pretty hard on Friday. They were not overly impressive. Anthony McClung could have had 2 touchdowns, but he didn't finish the play, was blown up and lost the ball for a touchback. McClung nearly broke a punt return, then he had a run where he lost 10 yards. He was also injured, which is bad. Shaq Washington and Kenbrell Thopmkins both averaged under 8 yards a reception. Travis Kelce had 1 catch and 1 fumble. I understand that down the field passing isn't the game for his group, but they haven't shown playmaking ability. When they have, they haven't capitalized.
Greg Blair was the leading tackler for the second week in a row. He had 7 stops, 1 for a loss. Maalik Bomar had 6 tackles. Brandon Mills had a sack.
Tony Miliano missed an extra point.
UC held the ball 11 minutes in the 4th quarter. Nothing says "You aren't coming back," like totally dominating winning time.
As not fun as this game was, the Bearcats play Fordham in a few weeks. I'm already dreading that one. It could be a 62-0 win and I'm still dreading it. I know UC was in a schedule crunch with TCU and West Virginia falling off the schedule, but couldn't they at least have played a Sun Belt team? Why are you making us watch another game like this? There better be free t shirts.
Most importantly, Cincinnati is 2-0. Winning ugly against a shitty Delaware St team is still winning. The Bearcats are tied for the lead in the Big East.
Photos via Cincinnati.com