The defensive line is in a state of flux right now. After losing Walter Stewart for the season, and unfortunately for Stewart, his career, they have lost their leader and most talented player. In his absence, players like Jordan Stepp, Brandon Mills and Silverberry Mouhon have to step up and become valuable assets on defense. Against the Cardinals, the d-line struggled a bit, failing to record a sack or put constant pressure on Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. In future games, the defensive line has to step up and become a bigger threat in order for this Cincinnati defense to flourish.
BearcatInsider grade: C
Linebackers Greg Blair and Maalik Bomar have been the leaders of this Bearcats defense during the 2012 season. Against Louisville, both of these guys showed up in a big way. Blair led the team in tackles, with 19 and 1.5 tackles for loss, and Bomar added six tackles himself, including 1.5 for loss and one interception. They were part of the unit that helped hold Louisville to 108 yards rushing, a small number considering the talent the Cards possess on offense. We've talked about how the offensive line has been the most consistent group on UC's offense; this linebacking core is that same way with the Cincinnati defense. You can always count on Bomar and Blair, as well as Nick Temple, to bring the consistent effort, and results, each and every game.
BearcatInsider grade: A
This was not the best showing for the Cincinnati secondary. They allowed too many long passing plays from Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, including the go-ahead touchdown with under two minutes left where cornerback Deven Drane missed a tackle, allowing Cards receiver DeVante Parker to turn a 30-yard reception into a 64-yard touchdown. To be fair, this Louisville offense is the most talented unit Cincinnati will face all season, having legitimate threats at almost every offensive skill position. The most notable, and it showed, was Bridgewater. The sophomore from Miami had a field day on offense, throwing for over 400 yards and two touchdowns. The secondary did hold him to zero touchdowns and one interception for the first three quarters, but it was their fourth quarter play that left fans wanting more. The secondary gets no break, as a talented Syracuse passing attack comes to town this week. Hopefully they can rebound with a solid performance against the Orangemen.
BearcatInsider grade: C+