The Bell Stays in Clifton

Approaching this game many Bearcat fans were concerned about the trip to Oxford to face Miami, given our history in this rivalry those concerns seemed reasonable. But the Bearcats quickly proved Saturday that times have changed, UC was far and away the better team and today the victory bell is back home in the Linder Center.

The surprise of the day was the start of Dustin Grutza. I had asked quarterback coach Greg Forrest about Ben Mauk's health on Thursday night. Coach Forrest must be a heck of a poker player because there was no hint in his expression or answer that we should expect anything new on Saturday. Dustin got the job done hitting 9 different receivers on the day and more importantly zero interceptions. One of the concerns with Grutza is that he creates but to often does so outside of the offensive scheme, today he stayed with the plays and got results.

 

Many folks are concerned about the running game, yesterday the Bearcats averaged only 3.4 yards per carry on the ground. We need to keep in mind that this offense is still evolving and so is the offensive line. Digger Bujnoch has moved from right to left tackle. Ken Rodriguez is a first year starter at left guard. Sophomore center Chris Jurek is a first year starter, along with Khalil El-Amin now at right tackle starting for the first time in his career. Only Trevor Canfield is playing a familiar position among the starters. The coaching staff is also doing a nice job of getting the two deep players on the field in a regular rotation.

 

Two areas that are a concern in my mind are the penalties and field goal kicking. Giving back 90 yards on penalties will cost you is a tight game. The celebration penalty is the one that cannot happen. Make the play and go back to the huddle, celebration is for after the game is won. Thus far field goals have been an adventure. Hopefully continued coaching can straighten the field goal kicking out.

 

Kevin Huber, the punter from McNicholas is really coming into in own. Another outstanding performance yesterday with three punts averaging 48.2 yards with great hang time. Two of his punts were downed inside the 5 yard line. Kevin is only a junior so we get to enjoy his work for quite a while, hopefully not to often though.

 

Defensively Miami running back Austin Sykes did have some success. He carried the ball 13 times for 76 yards with his longest going for 14 yards. Overall Miami had net rushing of only 56 yards for the game and was forced to pass 54 times. Add in 5 sacks and 3 interceptions and it is easy to see why the score was so lopsided. If UC can keep those types of numbers going this defense will end up as one of the best in the country?

 

A large contingent of Bearcat fans made the trip to Oxford, UC sold all of there allotment of 5,000 tickets and it looked like another 1500 or so joined the party on top of that. We were all very loud and really represented UC with class. It was great to tailgate with so many other UC fans, we have to find a way to make tailgating a reality at home games. The students who made the trip were great, can't wait to see a full house at Nippert next weekend for Marshall.


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