Cincinnati opened the basketball season with a 74-61 victory over North Carolina Central that raised a couple of issues. The first is that this team needs some work. We all knew that they would coming into the season. This is as young a group as we've seen since the 2010 season with Stephenson, Gates, Dixon and freshman Cash. There is starting experience at two positions. Maybe 3 because Rubles and Jackson took turns starting last year. Ge'Lawn Guyn has never started. Shaquille Thomas has never started. Jermaine Lawrence and Troy Caupain played the second and third most minutes off the bench. They never played period. Jermaine Sanders has never played a ton of minutes like he will going forward. UC needs to find the combos that mesh. It's going to take some time. Luckily the non-conference slate is forgiving until December. Tuesday will be a test with a talented NC State squad. If UC gives this kind of effort, that might not be a fun game.
The second thing we have to look at is the defense. UC apparently didn't get into the new offense. While I don't understand that, I'm willing to give it a pass since scoring 74 points is normally enough to win. The defense let NCC back in the game by seeing them shoot 44% in the second half. The defense saw Jeremy Ingram go 6-7 in the second half while attempting 7 free throws. The defense put NC Central on the line 28 times. The defense allowed NC Central to pull in 34% of their misses. A little more worrisome is NCC scored 28 points in the paint. If this team is beating you down low, eek. Things have to be tightened up and quick.
One of the positive things this team did was rebound. They pulled in 48.6% of their offensive rebounds. It showed itself with 19 second chance points. The Cats got to the foul line 31 times. They only turned it over 12. There were some positives on a poor shooting night, 39.3%.
Titus Rubles nearly put up a double double with 13 points and 8 rebounds. He added 3 steals and a block on the defensive end. Titus was 3-7 from the field. He matched his career high with 12 free throw attempts. He only made 7 though. 3 of his 8 rebounds were offensive. He looked good for the most part. Rubles looks to be the clear second threat offensively. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing.
Rubles also had 3 turnovers. If the big men are going to be handling the ball, they can't turn it over a combined 8 times. That's a bit of a spoiler alert for the next couple of guys I'm going to talk about.
Really don't like the shorts on that view. The shoes look cool.
Mixed bag out of Shaquille Thomas. On one hand, he had 5 rebounds. On the other, he played just 11 minutes. He turned the ball over 3 times and was called for 2 fouls. I mentioned in the preseason preview, see up top in the 3rd box, that consistency would be the biggest thing to look for out of him. It was not there Friday night.
There was a lot of hope and optimism that Justin Jackson would carry over what we saw in the preseason to the real games. That did not happen in the first one. He was plagued by foul trouble, 4 limited him to 21 minutes. He managed to block 3 shots. He also managed to have 1 defensive rebound. Not good enough. Jackson was 4-5 from the field. He also turned the ball over twice. One of them was on a horrible pass.
UC got beat on the fast break to the tune of 13-4.
They made up for that some by converting 16 turnovers into 18 points.
With 11:11 to go, UC was up 60-45 after a Kilpatrick 3. NCC cut the lead down to 10, that was the shot that looked like UC was putting their foot down. What ended up happening was an 11-2 run in under 4 minutes. The Cats had three missed 3 pointers and a missed front end of a 1-1.
Sean Kilpatrick came right back to score 4 straight points. That gave UC an 8 point cushion, one that would grow to the final margin. SK put up 22 for Cincinnati on 6-13 shooting, 2-7 from 3. He was a sparkling 8-9 at the foul line. Love seeing that total. He added 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. SK had 2 turnovers as well. He carried UC when they needed points, he was unguardable at times and he is awesome and I love him. Kilpatrick could have lines like this all season. It's not hard to envision.
Your starting lineup gave you 7 assists and 10 turnovers. That's a pretty horrible ratio. None from the big men. That's a huge reason the offense didn't look that good.
Getting back to game talk real quick, the turning point was when Jeremy Ingram fouled out with 6:32 left and Central down 6. He picked up a really silly foul too by bumping a cutting Kilpatrick coming off a screen. Central scored 3 points after he hit the bench. Jay Copeland getting a technical with Titus Rubles to foul out 90 seconds later didn't help them either.
Ge'Lawn Guyn had a solid first start. He was 2-4 from 3, 0-3 from 2, for 6 points. He had 3 assists to 0 turnovers with a rebound. He played a bulk of the point guard minutes with 23. He didn't look spectacular. He doesn't have to be. He just had to play solid ball. Guyn definitely has to cut the fouls. He was called for 3. Guyn also blew a couple of layups. Like this one.
UC as a team had trouble finishing around the rim. I guess Mick doesn't teach this in practice.
Jermaine Sanders played 31 minutes and he looked great. Sanders was 4-8, 3-6 from 3, 2-3 at the line for 13 points. That was his career high. Jermaine had 4 rebounds, 2 offensive, and 3 assists. With his normally solid defense, Sanders added a ton. He can play the 3 and the 4. That versatility is huge. I loved seeing him have a big game. Hopefully he can keep it going. You can do it, Jermaine. I believe in you.
Jermaine Lawrence made a mark in his 17 minutes. He was just 1-4 from the field, but he hit 4-5 from the foul line for 6 points. He pulled in a couple of boards with a couple of steals. Lawrence was called for a couple of fouls, so he has something to work on. The best statistical lineup UC had was with Lawrence on the floor. When he starts getting shots to fall, he's going to be awfully hard to get off it.
Troy Caupain played the most minutes as the back up point guard with 13. he was 0-3, 0-1, from the field. He did score his first Cincinnati points by going 2-2 from the foul line. Caupain had 2 assists to 1 turnover while pulling in 2 rebounds. He looked a bit shaky some stretches, more solid in others. I don't know how much he'll play against NC State, I would like to see him get more run against Appalachian in the following game.
Jeremiah Davis scored 2 points with 2 boards in 9 minutes. He was 1-2 from the field, 0-1 from 3. He picked up a foul. Davis ran the team alright I guess. He didn't really do a lot. I don't understand why some people think that he's the answer for PG. He's an average player. That makes me sound mean when I say that, but it's true. He's not as talented as Guyn or Caupain or Johnson. He definitely isn't defensively. His +/- was 0. That seems about right.
Kevin Johnson wasn't shy in the exhibition season, nor was he shy in his debut. Johnson went 0-5, 0-2 form 3. Unlike the other freshman, he didn't get to the line. Kevin had 2 offensive rebounds in his 9 minutes. I asked people on twitter what freshman would put up the most shots. I was waiting for someone to say Johnson so I could be like "Yes he will, you are a smart one." No one did. I guess the people who follow me on twitter aren't smart? Nah, they are the smartest people in the world. Especially you. This stopped being about Kevin Johnson. Here is a picture of him.
Big Dave Nyarsuk played 1 minute very early in the game when Mick was clearly unhappy with the players on the floor. He quickly turned the ball over and was pulled. Rough game.
Mick was very lineup aggressive. When UC got off to a sluggish start, 4 of the 5 starters were off the floor 3 minutes into the game. He's got the depth to be able to mix and match with the lineups. I hope that he does as the season progresses. I'm really interested in the types of combos he can play. This is an interesting roster.no comments
The UC student section was a major issue of discussion during and following the game on Saturday. For the student perspective, Bearcats Blog turns to Stuart Gilchrist. Stuart is at pretty much every game and has strong opinions on the matter. Be sure to read his recruiting pieces on this site and to follow him on twitter @StewieGilchrist.
The Bearcats got their seventh win of the season last Saturday with a 28-25 win over SMU in front of 28,069 in historic Nippert Stadium. It was surely the closest home win of the season and the Bearcats faced arguably the best passer in college football in Garrett Gilbert. Even though the Bearcats offense gave up 3 turnovers on offense while not getting a single one from SMU, most would agree that they played some of their best football of the year. The offense executed well and moved the ball when it truly mattered. Better yet, the Bearcats are now 7-2 and are still in reach of another 10-win season to hopefully make it 4 times in 5 seasons. There was only on glaringly obvious problem aside from the continuous RDAIV up the middle plays:
That, ladies and gentlemen, is our glorious student section midway through the 3rd quarter with the Bearcats at a 14-10 lead. While the rest of Nippert was somewhat full with fans watching the game and cheering on the Bearcats, the students were leaving the student section like brainless sheep, just one person following the other. Now I will first say that I wasn’t in attendance but over the course of my 5 years at UC have gone to all but 3 home football games and several away games. My freshman year, the student section was purely amazing with every student staying from opening kickoff till the final snap. In 2010, when the Bearcats went 4-8, the student section was still strong even though most students knew we would lose. In 2011 something started to change where a small fraction of students decided to leave at the end of the third to go begin their post-game festivities. Last year the trend continued. This year has been a large majority of the students leaving at the half no matter what the score is. This last game was rock bottom for the student section.
Not only did the fans notice that the students for the most part were noticeably absent from the game, the players voiced their concerns on Twitter shortly after the win:
These are only a few of the players’ reactions to the embarrassment that was our student section. Even Coach Tuberville made a note at the student section in the post game reports by saying that the students need to stay later in the game. The student section is the first thing the team sees when running out of the tunnel and I would imagine running out and seeing a half full student section isn’t the best way to being a game. These athletes are out there representing our university and the least the student body can do it support them.
Now I have heard many reasons as to why the student section has been leaving the games early or in the case of this past Saturday, not at all. They may or may not have some validity to them but they are as follows:
Veterans Day Weekend: The University has a 3-day weekend where may students choose to go home.
Going to UC football games “isn’t the cool thing to do anymore.”
We don’t play good teams so why bother going.
RallyCats are elitist and have major disconnect with the rest of the student section because they think they are better fans than the other students.
Students rather spend their day drinking where they can watch the game at home or at a bar.
Students’ seeing other students leaving early and thinking it’s okay for them to leave as well.
The first reason may have the most weight here as to the reasoning behind the lack of a student section. Many college students will take advantage of the three-day weekend to go home. Now I do not know the percentage of students that live in the Cincinnati area but I would imagine there are enough in the Clifton/Cincinnati area to make a full student section.
As for the second reason, that would by far be the worst reasoning not to go to the games. Cincinnati football is the major college football team of the Greater Cincinnati area and we may not play in the best conference of have the best opponents this year, but if supporting your school isn’t the “cool thing to do,” then I would like a student to tell me what is. None of us fans or students have any direct way to influence our conference situation but what we can control is attendance at games and believe it or not, conferences notice attendance at games.
I can see where students can have issues with RallyCats acting like they are better than the rest of the student body but they are about 5% of the student section and should in no way affect student attendance at games. The last two statements have about equal weight. It’s an age old question that many fans have, “Why go to games when I can watch it in the comfort of my house and drink considerably cheaper beer?” This applies if you are a fan watching the game that does not live in Clifton but the students are always in Clifton and to me that excuse does not matter. Especially when tickets are FREE.
Overall, players, I want to apologize for the lack of support by the students last Saturday and I sure hope it does not happen again. You guys deserve better. Students, if you are reading this, get your butts in the seats early on December 5th and support this football team. They deserve our support and for 100% of the games I’ve been to the student section sets the tone for the rest of the fans in attendance. As we could see last weekend, if we are not there, it changes the atmosphere of what makes Nippert such a hostile environment on game days. Make Cincinnati Football the “cool thing to do” in your mind and Come Early, Be Loud, and Wear Black.no comments
Cincinnati's 7th win of the season didn't come without a little bit of drama. Cincinnati gave up 15 points in the 4th quarter to let SMU get back into it. The game was book ended by SMU. The Mustangs dominated the first quarter and led 7-0. I just told you about the 4th. The meat of the game is where Cincinnati completely dominated and took control. Especially in the third quarter, where the Cats had the ball seemingly the entire quarter. It might have been their best quarter of the season. I'll touch more on that in a little bit.
SMU was a good opponent to play before the final gauntlet of the season. They are a team with a great offense but a horrible defense. They can challenge you in some areas, but at the same time, you have the advantage of being at home and being better. I'm sure some SMU fans would think better was debatable, but who cares what they think. The Mustangs offered enough resistance to give UC a run for their money before Rutgers, Houston and Louisville line up across them. They got us ready for a tough close to the season.
If Cincinnati is going to close with 3 straight wins, they are going to have to play better. SMU was held to 30 yards under their season average. They also went on TD drives of 92 and 90 in the 4th quarter. That's 182 yards when it matters most. Cincinnati was able to put the game away. They shouldn't have been in a position to let SMU back in the game. A costly turnover gave the Mustangs a chance to drive. UC needed a 4th down conversion to ice things. There was a lot of good. There was also a lot of not good. Bring on the Tuberville's.
First things first, how awesome was it seeing Mark Barr as one of the team captains? If it didn't hit you right in the feels, you are some kind of robot with a black heart.
There is a knock on system quarterbacks when people look ahead to the NFL. There isn't a knock on them in college for the most part because the quarterbacks are really good in those systems. Brendon Kay is really good in this system. He put up 27-32, 299 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs. He doesn't have to make the deep throws often, which helps the percentage out. When he does make the deep throws, he makes teams play. He's hitting Mekale McKay for 60 yard scores, throwing deep to Chris Moore to draw PI flags, going vertical to stretch the defense. Give Brendon time and you are done as a defense. His hot streak makes me believe that UC can hang with almost anyone offensively. They obviously can't, but it makes me believe that. I'm going to miss you, BK.
Kay did throw his first home INTs of the season. To be quite honest, neither one was a good decision. The first one was a bad read. The second one came right after UC recovered an onside kick. It was a bit deflating.
The reason I said the offense obviously would not hang with the best offenses in the country is because of the running game. They were able to grind against the SMU defense. 45 carries for 163 yards. That's a 3.6 yard average. It's not the prettiest thing. Eventually they just wore the Mustangs down for big yards.
Everyone but Ralph David Abernathy IV. He had 7 carries for 9 yards and 1 catch for 3 yards. He had a 7 yard run. His other 6 carries went for 2 yards. I have no idea why he's the most ineffective player on the team with the ball in his hands. I bet he doesn't either. His season has been frustrating for everyone.
Hosey Williams put up a huge game with 90 yards on 14 carries. He popped off a 24 yard run and a huge 20 yard run on 1st-20 on the game clinching drive. He's continued to be the home run hitter of the backfield. Wouldn't mind seeing him get more carries. Couldn't hurt.
It almost looks like Austen Bujnoch is doing a fist pump as he watches Williams run. I'm going to think he is forever.
Tion Green gets the rare double Tuberville. He had 47 yards on 6 carries. Green punched in a TD to cap the best drive of the season. Tion also fumbled in the SMU red zone, which was a huge turning point. I'm not sure where he stands on this game. Alright I guess.
The Show Off Jordan Luallen keeps on chopping when he's called on to run the LuallenCat. He ran 8 times for 29 yards with a score. I don't think anyone on the team runs harder than him. I trust him more on short yardage plays than any of the other backs. The LuallenCat has won me over. I still don't think it's that great, but Jordan makes it work.
Yes, another picture of a running back is coming.
Anthony McClung continued his big senior season with another big game. McClung had 8 catches for 97 yards. He's so close to going over 100. This doesn't have to do with the game, but the commercials for the 'We're cracking down on big hits' and every hit being a hit on McClung always makes me laugh a little. Sorry, 6.
Mekale McKay sure did get open on that 62 yard TD. He made a 7 yard catch, which most people thought was impossible. I'll shout out the other receivers here. Chris Moore had 5 catches for 37 yards and a score. He drew another PI. Shaq Washington had one first half catch, but exploded for 7 in the second. He had just 51 yards though. Max Morrison was the only other player to catch a pass. He had 3-42. Morrison did drop a 3rd down pass though.
The line also gets a double Tubs. They dominated the SMU front in the second half. They also weren't really that great. 3.6 yards a carry isn't that impressive. Kay went down twice. Deyshawn Bond had some good moments and some plays where he completely whiffed. He kind of summed things up.
Austen Bujnoch forced a fumble. SMU recovered it though. It also sums things up.
The third quarter was amazing. UC had scoring drives of 11 plays for 75 yards taking 3:58 and 17 plays for 96 yards taking 8:12. The special teams contributed by recovering an onside kick that was run to perfection. They held the ball 12:27 of the possible 15 minutes. Time of possession is kind of very meaningless, it showed the UC domination though.
The fourth quarter wasn't as amazing. SMU had the ball for 5:14, showing that time of possession doesn't mean much. They went 92 yards in 6 plays taking 1:10. They had a drive of 15 plays for 90 yards that took 5:02. The first drive ended in the first 12 second of the quarter if you were freaking out about the math.
The Bearcats completely shut down the SMU rush attack. The Mustangs ran 20 times for 48 yards. They ran mostly to keep UC honest. They didn't keep UC that honest.
Garrett Gilbert had the secondary off balance all day long. He finished 38-47 for 403 yards with 2 TDs. Gilbert ran for 14 yards and a TD. He also ran for a 2 point conversion. Gilbert was sacked twice, but he avoided sacks with his pocket presence. Gilbert is really good. He's not the best QB UC will see though, which has to worry everyone like it worries me.
The secondary had a pretty bad game. I think Deven Drane tweeted something like he had the worst game of his career. He was beaten deep a couple of times. To be fair to Drane, everyone was beaten many times. Darius Joseph had 12 catches for 103 yards and 2 TDs. Jeremy Johnson had 11 catches for 102 yards. Keenan Holman was the man who beat Drane deep for a 74 yard pass and catch. He finished with 142 yards on 7 grabs. The receivers have some tape if they want to play pro ball.
The defense did have it's times of weakness, they also had their times of strength. They stopped Southern Methodist on a 3rd-3 at the 33. Chase Hover missed from 48. They stopped SMU with on a first and goal at the 9, holding them to 3. Right before the half, they forced an SMU field goal attempt. It was no good. That kick turned out to be the difference in the game. It wouldn't have been possible without the defensive back bone.
Adrian Witty had a team high 11 tackles, which earns him the good Tuberville. He was made to look silly on some other attempts, which gets the head down Tommy. He broke up a pass. He saw people makes catches on him. He made a huge hit. He got juked out of his shoes. The highs and the lows.
Zach Edwards had 7 tackles, Drane had 6. Howard Wilder had 5. I just want to say I really like Wilder. He's been a good player. Trenier Orr going down opened up an opportunity for him. He's taken advantage. All the DBs get mentioned here because they had 400 yards hung on them.
Greg Blair had 10 tackles. Who doesn't love the 10 tackle Greg Blair games? I do. I'm going to miss you too, Greg.
There haven't been enough pictures of Greg Blair making plays. Get on it, photogs.
Jordan Stepp and Brad Harrah had sacks.
Silverberry Mouhon had no stats outside of a hurry. Not good enough, 92.
In the stat book, John Lloyd had 1 punt and it was inside the 20. In reality, his punt was not very good. He's not riding a hot streak right now.
RDA broke a 30 yard kick return. That's good.
The coaching staff also gets a good/bad. The play call on the 4th-1 from the SMU 40 was absolutely horrible. It lost 9 yards. That's how you can tell it was horrible. Tuberville's weird clock management at the end of the first half when UC had timeouts to use was not great either. The Cats got off to another horrible start as well. On the other hand, Gran realized UC could bully SMU and bully them they did. Tuberville aggressively went for it late. UC won.
Tuberville continues to look weird in a hat though.
I guess I'll use the coaching space to talk about the SMU onside kick. There was about 3:30 to go after SMU scored to pull within 3. They decided to go onside. UC was ready for it and easily recovered. There was some debate about kicking deep and making UC try to move the ball. I think the onside was the right move. They couldn't stop UC. They didn't stop UC. I'm not sure if kicking deep would have sent a message or not, but it worked out for UC.
Also, that targeting penalty was so awful. I thought McClung hit the ground first and the guy jumped on top of him. Instead, a clean hit that was whistled because of incompetence.
Deion Sanders Jr. converted a 3rd down. Yeah, that's Deion Sanders' kid. You are old as shit, man.
The officials were horrendous. We've had this crew before. They made a bunch of horrible calls, looking at you targeting. They missed some pretty big holds. They were generally assy. That's going to be something we have to put up with more and more in the future. I'm not looking forward to it.
UC announced 28,000+. That was short of the 30,000 they were hoping for. A large part of that was the student section. We'll have more on that later.
Cincinnati won. They are 7-2. That's pretty solid on paper. They are 4-1 in the league. They have no shot to win it thanks to Houston dropping the ball. Literally dropping every single ball late in the game. Bitter much? Yes. UC went behind the 8 ball when they lost to USF. All they can do now is win. They did that. Let's keep it going to Rutgers.
Go Bearcats.no comments
Cincinnati kept their winning ways going strong with a 28-25 victory over SMU. The Cats were powered by Brendon Kay's right arm yet again. He threw for 299 yards and 2 TDs, with 2 INTs. Most impressively, he was 27-32. His accuracy has been something else lately. His top target was Anthony McClung. McClung had 8 receptions for 97 yards. The big play was a 62 yard TD pass to Mekale McKay. It put UC up 14-10, a lead they never relinquished.
The Cats got something going on the ground for the first time in weeks. Hosey Williams broke out for 90 yards on 14 carries. He converted a huge 1st-20 late. Tion Green had 47 yards and 1 TD, but a costly fumble in the red zone that set up SMU's final score. Jordan Luallen, the Show Off, ran 8 times for 29 yards, including a touchdown.
The defense had some issues. They gave up 451 yards to the Mustangs. Garrett Gilbert was 38-47 for 403 yards and 2 scores. He also ran for a score. He picked apart the UC defense all day long. It wouldn't be surprising if he was drafted.
This could have been a different game if their normally steady kicker Chase Hover performed to his standard. He hadn't missed since week 1. He hadn't missed from 30-39 or 40-49. He missed wide right on his first kick and missed a shorter one right before halftime. Those 3 points turned out to be huge.
SMU also had a terrible break go against them late with the terrible officials. They were called for targeting on an onside kick. It wasn't even close to targeting, but it put UC at the 30. Knowing what happened, UC would have probably run out the clock. I just want to say again the targeting rule is stupid. It has the best of intentions. I like that you can review it. The fact you can't overturn the penalty makes no sense. If it's not targeting, it shouldn't be a penalty.
All in all, this was a pretty solid win. UC had struggles against the first real offense they've seen in months. But they were able to overcome. Good work.
Stats after the jumpno comments