It was a rainy homecoming for the Cincinnati Bearcats at Nippert Stadium Saturday night. Rain poured down all afternoon and created a situation where bad weather favored the UConn Huskies. The Huskies game plan coming into the game was to make the game ugly and the weather presented that challenge for the Bearcats early on. With the rain the big question was whether the Bearcats high powered offense could put up points against a Huskies defense that has 14 takeaways this season. Ballsecurity was important and the Bearcats did everything right as they cruised to 37-13 win before a crowd 40,124 at Nippert Stadium. After losing their first two games in the American Athletic Conference to Temple and Memphis the Bearcats got a much needed victory in the win column over the Huskies.
Gunner Kiel started the game for the Bearcats after sitting out the last two games and he threw 26-35 for 327 yards and 2 touchdowns (3 total because he had one rushing). Hosey Williams led the team in rushing on 13 carries for 140 yards and 1 touchdown. Michael Boone had a good game for the Bearcats rushing for 117 yards on 13 carries. Boone was showing some explosiveness as he showed the big play ability we had been accustom to seeing last season. Shaq Washington led the team in receptions with 8 catches for 78 yards as he inched closer to becoming the Bearcats all time leader in receptions. He only needs 8 more catches to accomplish that achievement.
The Bearcats had yet another strong performance offensively gaining 612 yards of total offense. Despite the rain the offense had no trouble moving the chains and pretty much dominated the Huskies all night long. It was a balanced effort on display for the Bearcats and the American Athletic Conference leading passing offense put up 327 again tonight with a nice rushing attack that rushed for 285 yards total.
Defensively the Bearcats played sensational football holding the Huskies to only 266 yards of total offense. Much like the second half against Miami (FL) the defense played great throughout and contained quarterback Bryant Shirreffs to only 12 of 27 passing for 87 yards. Shirreffs known for his scrambling ability, despite rushing for 90 yards was held mostly in check by the Bearcats defense. They collapsed and shut down the running lanes Shirreffs was looking to exploit.
Another positive was there weren’t any busted coverage’s in the secondary tonight. The defense has been exposed all season long, but on this night they stepped up to the challenge and maybe, just maybe it they can use this momentum for the rest of the season.