Kay's career as a starter began as you would expect, as he went 17-21 passing for 244 yards and two touchdowns, an efficient performance against an overmatched Temple defense. The senior quarterback continued to grow as a starter, having only one game in which he threw an inteception, a 10-3 loss against Rutgers, and finishing above 60% completion percentage in five out of his six starts. And while those numbers were nice, it was his leadership and ability to become more than just a "game-manager" that has UC excited about their future.
Against Duke, the Bearcats got off to an awful start, falling behind 16-0 in the first quarter and watching their offense go three and out on consecutive drives. Things looked bleak for the Bearcats. Their coaching staff was a shell of its regular season self, with most already moved on to Tennessee, and it showed on the field. Then something amazing happened. The team came alive. George Winn starting hitting the holes, the defense starting getting stops and Brendon Kay put on a performance to remember. His day started with a perfectly timed and thrown post route to Anthony McClung for a 25-yard touchdown. Then it was his 41-yard bomb that hit Ralph Abernathy IV perfectly in stride to give UC the halftime lead. The third quarter was quite for Kay, but in hindsight, he was probably just preparing himself for a breakout fourth quarter. After Duke took back the lead early in the fourth, Kay hit Chris Moore on a 25-yard streak to put UC back in the lead. After Duke came back down and hit a 52-yard field goal to tie the game, and UC's ensuing three and out followed by Duke's fumble at the 1-yard line, Kay showed the moxie that has him pegged as a breakout star next season. With UC facing 98-yards and less then two minutes left on the clock, Kay got the Bearcats out of their own endzone with an 11-yard rush on first down. Following a George Winn two-yard run, Kay hit a streaking Travis Kelce right in stride for a 83-yard touchdown that put UC in the lead for good at 41-34. His final stat line, 17-25 passing for 332 yards and four touchdowns, was 100% indicative of the impact Kay had on the game. Anytime a big throw was needed, Kay made it with ease. It was the first time all season we could say Brendon Kay put the team on his back and carried the them to a victory.
While past success is not a guarantee for future success, it is usually a solid indicator. And in watching Kay's game improve from week to week, the hype is building for the senior from Michigan to have a big 2013 campaign. While the offense does lose some talent in tight end Travis Kelce and halfback George Winn, some great targets do return in Anthony McClung and Alex Chisum. For now, Bearcat fans can enjoy the 10-win 2012 season and a Belk Bowl victory, but the future looks bright for 2013, especially with number 11 running the show.