-Statistically speaking, the defense did not perform poorly. They only allowed 355 yards of total offense; tallied three sacks and didn't allow a touchdown. However, anyone who watched the game would tell you the defense did not play well. Toledo was able to move the ball at will, and rushed for over 220 yards and had multiple long passing plays where they carved up the middle of Cincinnati's defense. The bend but don't break defense has been working for the Bearcats due to the great performances their offense has been giving the team. However, on a night when the UC offense couldn't get much going, Cincinnati had to get a couple of stops, and not allow Toledo to consistently put three points on the board on what seemed like every drive. It was a matter of time before the offense had a poor game, and unfortunately for the Bearcats, that game was last night. The talent is there on this defense to get those stops, it's just a matter of execution. Getting pressure on the quarterback early is crucial to performing well as a defense. If they can work on that, I expect the defense to bounce back and be more than ready to Louisville next week.
We have to limit the big plays.
-Toledo's offense had zero touchdowns. Yes, you read that right; their offense did not score a single touchdown. They did, however, return an interception for a touchdown and returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Both of those plays are unacceptable for Cincinnati. The Bearcats had just completed a fantastic drive on offense, culminating in a 25 yard touchdown pass from Legaux to Damon Julian, to capture the lead for the fist time all game. How did they use that momentum? They let Toledo take the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown, immediately losing that momentum and letting Toledo regain the lead, one that would not relinquish for the remainder of the game. When you're playing on the road, especially in a rivalry game, you CANNOT give up big plays. They fire up an already raucous crowd, which makes a comeback that much more difficult. Cincinnati has to limit these plays next week against Louisville.
Munchie has to be better.
-Before I start, let me say this loss was not all on Munchie. Sure, he made some poor decisions, and being a quarterback amplifies your mistakes that much more, but you win as a team and you lose as a team. Munchie's initial pick-six was a pass he never should have thrown, and it showed as the Toledo defensive back walked in untouched to the end zone. He missed on some throws he should have made, but usually those missed throws are overlooked due to the comfortable leads UC has been used to playing with. When the score continued to remain close, each missed throw was magnified. His stats, 15 for 36 with two interceptions and one touchdown, were discouraging. This is a Toledo defense that gave up HALF A HUNDRED to Eastern Michigan just one week prior. The good news with this game is that Munchie now has a week to fix these problems. Legaux is a leader on this team, and I know he will take full responsibility for his play against the Rockets. If UC wants to beat Louisville and maintain their undefeated Big East record, Legaux needs to be the Munchie we saw earlier in the season, not the one we saw against Toledo.