SMU came out with their explosive uptempo offense powered by senior quarterback Garrett Gilbert. Gilbert drove his team down the field early on a 13 play, 75 yard drive, capped off with his 3-yard rushing touchdown. They would take a early 7-0 lead and looked to be unstoppable early.
Mustangs Chase Hoover later in the second quarter would add to the lead with a 24 yard field goal, giving them a 10-0 lead. After that it became all Bearcats, as senior Brendon Kay and the offense went on a 28-point run. The biggest play out of that run was a one play shot from Kay to MeKale McKay for a 62-yard touchdown.
Coach Tommy Tuberville talked about this 28-point run in his post game conference. "We got behind 10-0 and lucky we held them down to force them to kick a field goal," Coach Tuberville said. "We scored 28 points before they scored again, I thought that was outstanding."
Today was definitely a hard fought team effort victory for the Bearcats. Kay on Senior Day finish his last afternoon game at Nippert Stadium going 27 of 32, 299 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 INT.
Coach Tuberville weighed in on how big this team victory was for his team, "Great to play a team game, to beat a team like that and with a quarterback like that," Coach Tuberville explained. "You have to play as a team."
SMU Gilbert tried to keep his team in the game, when they finally got back on the board in the 4th quarter. In this quarter Gilbert connected twice with Darius Joseph, plus converted on a 2-point conversion, to bring the Mustangs within 3 points. Gilbert finish today going 38-47 with 403 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 INT.
But that late attack from the Mustangs was not enough and just too late. Bearcats knew coming in they would have to hold on defense, as well as, convert on third downs. The Bearcats did just that today as they went 10 for 16 on third down conversions.
"We knew we had to win the third down battle, we could not go out there and convert 25-30%," said Coach Tuberville. "We learned a lot of lessons today," he added. "Our guys never panic, we kept doing what we needed to do."
And by doing everything that was needed to win today, the Cincinnati Bearcats head into next weeks game vs Rutgers on a win streak. Bearcat Insider asked senior Brendon Kay about this momentum going forward.
"We have to continue to get better, learn from our mistakes, if we do that we can do some damage and continue this," Kay said.