After disappointing performances from this group the past few games, a visit from the USF Bulls was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Cincinnati defensive line. One week after getting gashed by the Rutgers rushing attack to the tune over 230 yards, the d-line settled into a groove and held the Bulls rushing attack to 130 yards. Most importantly for this group, they were able to get pressure on the quaterback, something they have struggled with the past few games. Dan Giordano, Silverberry Mouhon and Jordan Stepp all supplied sacks for this group, forcing USF Matt Floyd into difficult passing situations all game long. THIS is the kind of performance the defensive line has to put together consistently to be successful for the rest of the season.
BearcatInsider grade: B+
Rejoice, Bearcat fans. Greg Blair will be back next season! Meaning you will be hearing plenty more about the linebacker from Pittsburgh in these last look backs next year. Blair made sure to be included in this one as well with his 14-tackle performance against USF Friday night. He also chipped in a forced fumble and one tackle for loss. His partners in the linebacking crew, Maalik Bomar and Nick Temple, put together solid performances as well, finishing with five and six tackles respectively. They did a much better job of playing the gaps against the Bulls rushing attack, limiting the big plays and forcing USF to open up their offense and pass the ball. You can see the cohesive that has developed in this group from the beginning of the season until now. Blair was a new starter and Bomar was the seasoned pro. Now you have two legitimate all-conference performers at the position, and it has been a pleasure to watch them work this season.
BearcatInsider grade: A-
This group has been one of the deepest units on this Cincinnati squad. Injuries have forced many players to step up into starting roles, and those players have responded well. On Friday night, that player was Adrian Witty. The cornerback from Florida had a career game against the Bulls. Witty finished with three tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble and two pass break ups. Every time Witty made a play, it swung momentum back in UC's favor. With the stalwarts at cornerback in Camerron Cheatham and Deven Drane having their usual consistent performances, it was a pleasant surprise to see Witty come out and perform like a guy who can be depended on in the future. Senior Drew Frey capped off his career in a Bearcat uniform with a great game as well, finishing with five tackles. It's really been a joy to see so many guys step up in the unit from the beginning of the season. From Adrian Witty to Arryn Chenault, every time someone has their number called, they are ready go. That is a testament to the work these guys put in every day at practice. Keep it up fellas.
BearcatInsider grade: B+