With that being said, let's look at this week's game between the
visiting 0-3 Thundering Herd of Marshall and our beloved and dare I say
undefeated Bearcats of Cincinnati.
Coach Brian Kelly's squad returns home to the friendly
confines of Nippert Stadium boasting a 3-0 record and coming off an impressive
47-10 pasting of our little sisters to the North, the Redskins of Miami. Injury wise the Bearcats got out of the
relatively unscathed. In addition
and what I perceive to be an extra bonus, Coach Kelly reintroduced us to some
‘Cat named Dustin Grutza. I've got
to admit that a certain part of my anatomy began to have an adverse reaction (I
believe it is called shrinkage) when Dustin was announced as the starter
replacing injured Ben Mauk at QB.
Happily Ol' #4 proceeded to enjoy his best game in a Bearcat uniform, and
I am pleased to report that all is well downstairs
Once again the heart and soul of this squad, our defense,
was exemplary and set the tone for the dismemberment of the Miami offense. The speed and tenacity of this defense
is finally getting some much deserved national attention, and I seriously doubt
we can expect anything but continued excellence from this facet of the team
Saturday night against Marshall.
The exact antithesis of the Bearcats rolls into Nippert
Saturday night in the form of the Marshall Thundering Herd. Third year head coach Mark Snyder's
charges are a shell of the once dominant teams that ruled the MAC. The 31-3 away loss to Miami of Florida
raised a bit of a concern among the faithful but was considered an "acceptable"
loss. The home loss to in-state
archrival WVU saw the Herd leading at the half and keeping it close through the
third quarter, only to come up short to the heavily favored Mountaineers by a
48-23 final score. Everything was
still pretty much copasetic until the #10 ranked squad in the nation showed up
to do battle at Edwards Stadium last Saturday to claim a 48-35 victory. Understandable loss right? Well, not so much. You see New Hampshire is the number 10 ranked team in
Division IAA. And believe me, New Hampshire is no
Appalachian State. This was a bad
home loss. A very bad home loss
when you factor in that Marshall's record at home since 1991 is an
outstanding 109-13. It is my
understanding that due to attendance in the 4-th quarter, Marshall's catch
phrase, "We are Marshall" had to be changed to "I am Marshall." These guys come into Cincy very young,
beaten up and beaten down.
On offense I am sure Coach Snyder is hoping Bernard Morris doesn't wait until they are losing 24-0 to declare himself fit to
play. Morris is an exceptional
athlete and comes off a career day throwing for 417 yards and 3 TD's in just
over 2 quarters. Morris has a turf
toe condition which hopefully will subside enough for him to participate
Saturday night. If Morris doesn't
start , his replacement is redshirt freshman Brian Anderson. Anderson is a less than impressive 11-24 for 89
yards and 2 picks this season. If
Morris can't go, it is going to get really ugly really early. I can only liken it to the night I met my
first and current wife. Marshall has a few very
respectable wide outs in junior college junior Darius Passmore, sophomore
Courtney Edmonson and junior Emmanuel Spann. Passmore is the cream of this crop
sporting 4.3 forty speed. Sophomore
TE Cody Slate is Morris's go to guy.
Slate is an excellent athlete with good hands that appears to be cut from
the same cloth as the Colts' Dallas Clark.
True frosh RB Darius Marshall will get the bulk of the work out of the
backfield with junior Kelvin Turner spelling him. If Morris can't go, and he left the
field of play after last Saturday's contest wearing a boot and on crutches,
don't be surprised if freshman QB Mark Cann gets his redshirt lifted. Cann apparently performed better in
summer practice than much heralded recruit Chris Smith and could get the nod
over an unproductive Anderson.
Regardless, if you are scoring along at home, you will notice an
inordinate amount of freshmen and sophomores that are expected to deliver for
Marshall's defense can only be described as a
M*A*S*H unit. A full 40% of their
"D" is done or dying and once again the freshmen and sophomores will be expected
to compete against a far more mature and seasoned Bearcat squad
The bottom line for the Bearcats Saturday is that they
will facing a very young and inexperienced Marshall squad. If Ben Mauk's shoulder is sound, he will
have a BIG night throwing to Barnett, Gilyard, Goodman, Jackson and Barwin. As far as the running game is concerned,
we can expect gaping holes for our rendition of the Four Horsemen; Benton,
Moore, Glatthaar and Ramsey, to ramble through at will. I expect the offense to shoulder its
fair share of the load this week.
Defensively, our athleticism, speed, depth and experience will overwhelm
the Herd's "O". Three and outs will
become acceptable to the Marshall offense after they've turned the ball
over a few times early. All in all,
I see a game very similar to the Miami game last week. They have a uncertain QB situation, and
they are banged up. The final nail
in their coffin is their youth.
Youth that an already opportunistic Bearcat defense will exploit to the
fullest. My only hope is that we
bust up these Bisons to the point where amnesia sets in. You see, UC has a date next
October 4-th at Edwards Stadium, and by that time, these young Buffalos are
going to have grown some horns.
LAST WEEKS RESULTS….
An apparent miracle took place last week as we were able to just
squeak by those dreaded Injuns to the North by a 47-10 margin. The stars had to be aligned as we were
able to claim victory on the side at minus 9.5 as well as over the total of
48.5. That being said, my wife's
virtue stays intact as the wager for the keys to the chastity belt remain in my
possession. However, just between
you, me and the fence post, I haven't been able to locate those damn things
since my birthday……in December!!!
The early line had the Bearcats as 21.5 point favorites. However, the side has been bet up to as
high as 24.5 at some books. The
over /under has been set at 54.
I know it is an ocean of points, but I see UC's offense, defense
and special teams scoring in this one, and in waves. Lay the 24.5 in a big fashion and go over
the 54 as 5 of the last 6 lined Bearcat games and 9 of the last 10 lined
have all gone over the number.
How confident am I? So much
so that this week I'm again betting those missing keys as well as the banana
hammock they are hidden in!!!
Always remember, "Gamblin' money's got no home" and Go Bearcats!!!!