I could rant about how the coaches didn’t call the right plays and how our offense gave it all up in the last few minutes of the 4th quarter, but I won’t. I was at the game Thursday night. It was awesome seeing the thousands of UC fans piling into Nippert Stadium bringing the noise against the 6th best team in the nation. The crowd definitely helped in the terms of defense. The defense played amazingly well against a stellar offense led by Heisman candidate, Greg Ward. When Tuberville said that this defense would be a defensive lead team, he meant it. They forced 3 turnovers against the Cougars. Not to mention the defense forced 5 turnovers against Purdue the week prior. It’s a complete 180 from what we saw last year. They caused complete havoc and they were all over the field. They could’ve done better but I’m sure as the season goes along, they’ll make the adjustments. The offense on the other hand wasn’t quite as impressive. The throwing game was there, along with the nifty flea flicker trick play at one point. The running game wasn’t. I could argue that the up the middle run was not working and they could’ve tried to test Houston’s edge but they didn’t. The bottom line was that Houston’s front was better than our offensive line. They were bigger and was able to shut down the run in an instant. Houston is the real deal here, folks. I could see them being a contender for National Champs. They have great coaches and they simply out played us. They are the better team.
So, where do we go from here?
The main thing is that this is another learning experience for the bearcats. We can only, hope, to get better. Yes, we could’ve won that game and made a statement to the world but it’s just the beginning. It’s important for the players and the fans to not lose hope and continue to cheer for our team. The next conference game coming up is USF at Nippert and it is equally as important as it was against Houston. That game will be the deciding factor who ends up winning in the East division of our conference. Right now, USF is favorited to win the division. When USF comes into town, I’m sure the players will make a statement. Last year, it was a blood bath when USF trampled on UC beating us 65-27. It’s revenge. If we beat USF, then we could be the favorites to win the division and have a rematch against Houston for the American Conference champ title. We have so much talent on this team and I can tell that these group of guys really want it this year. I can also argue that the coaching and play calling can be a little better. It will just take a team effort to be where we want to be. I have faith in this team and I will continue to cheer for them til the day I die. I bleed Cincinnati red. It’s a long season and lots to learn as well for the team.
Next up, the Cincinnati Bearcats host the Miami Redhawks, the 121st Battle for the Victory Bell. Miami currently holds the winning streak 59 to 54 but the Bearcats have retained the Bell for the past 10 years. Every week before the rivalry game, the Bearcats bring the Bell trophy next to the players’ locker room, to ring it and remind players that we don’t want to be the squad to break that losing streak if Miami wins. Ever since Tuberville arrived, the game against Miami were all close wins. UC is currently a 20 point favorite but don’t expect it’ll happen. In recent years, Miami always brings their A-game against UC and almost came out victorious. I’m sure they would love to bring back the Bell back to Oxford so UC needs to step up and play extremely well against Miami. Yes, Miami is 0-3 but it just makes them hungrier for that first win against a rival team. I hope the coaches and seniors of this UC team really preach to the younger players how important this game is. We don’t want to break that streak. I’m sure the crowd at Nippert will be good and it’ll be up to the players to do their job. Looking for a good rivalry game this weekend! Go Bearcats!