The margin between Louisville and Cincinnati is not very big. The teams are incredibly similar in terms of style and talent. There isn't a lot that separates them. But the thing is, there is a small gap. The gap is what helped Louisville keep the Keg of Nails for who knows how long in another heartbreaker for Cincinnati. The final stats show an even game. Louisville out rushed Cincinnati, Cincinnati outpassed Louisville. The biggest difference in the game was that Louisville had Teddy Bridgewater and Cincinnati didn't. Bridgewater threw 6 incomplete passes in the second half, 3 of which were dropped. That wasn't the incredible part. The incredible part were the two plays everyone is raving about today. On 4th and 12, Greg Blair had a free run at Teddy, spinning him around, but he couldn't bring him down. Nick Temple, who sacked Bridgewater on 3rd down, caught him about 8 yards down field.
And got dragged another 6 yards. After a pair of drops, UC had them facing 3-10. Nick Temple had a shot at Bridgewater and another shot at Bridgewater. He came up empty. It looked like Bridgewater was throwing the ball away.
But he threw it here
The difference between winning and losing last night was one of the best players in college football, the probable number 1 pick in the NFL draft, made two absolutely incredible plays that who knows how many people in the country can make to beat UC. The Bearcats took the lead after those plays relatively quick and they were able to force overtime. How different is the game if Nick Temple makes that 4th down tackle? Cincinnati takes over with 9 minutes left up 14-10. Maybe Louisville's spirits are broken. Maybe that big play to Mekale McKay is still there and UC goes up 11. Maybe all that changes is UofL goes up 17-14 and Kay leads another last minute field goal, it goes into OT, Louisville wins 24-17. The margin between winning and losing isn't that big. The margin between Cincinnati and Louisville isn't that big. There is that margin though.
Every Bearcat and Cardinal laid it all on the field last night, that seems like a clear fact. No one wore the outcome of each play like Brendon Kay. Kay hasn't been completely healthy all season. Part of the reason Munchie Legaux was the starting quarterback is because Brendon was hurt all through training camp. Part of the reason Brendon Kay is on the team this season is because he spent so much time during his first 5 years injured. Brendon has taken a ton of punishment this season. His willingness to stand in the pocket and absorbing a huge hit to make a throw is unbelievable to me. This photo is a good example:
Kay has been so banged up that he's gone to the locker room early each of the last two games to get an early start on treatment. He was hobbling around the field. The shot he took, lord the shot he took, on his TD was incredible. I thought he was out of the game for sure. He wasn't. Kay gave everything he had, especially all he could out of his body, last night. He was the symbol of a team that did the same. Right after the deflating TD, Kay hit McKay for a huge play to pull back some momentum. After Louisville took the lead again, Kay led the Cats right back down the field for the tie. It really sucks that it just wasn't enough.