Bearcats Suffer First Defeat

Brian Brohm and his Louisville Cardinals dealt the Bearcats their first defeat of the season in front of another raucous sellout crowd at Nippert Satdium on Homecoming weekend. We take a short look at the game but most important, "Who visited the Bearcats?"

Louisville will keep the Keg of Nails for another season as the Bearcats were unable to win the trophy for the fifth year in a row.  Some Bearcats fans will be upset, but Saturday night's game was one that the Cardinals deserved to win.


The Bearcats committed four turnovers, but realistically, the two Cincinnati interceptions had nothing to do with the final outcome.  Tony Pike launched a Hail Mary pass before the half that was intercepted, and Ben Mauk was picked with only seconds remaining in the game with the ball deep in his own territory.  However, two Bearcat fumbles did contribute heavily to the loss since both occurred in the red zone.


The statistical battle was pretty even in most areas although the Cardinals easily won the battle for field position throughout the game.  Too often the Bearcat offense was faced with going 80 or more yards in order to score.  Cardinal punter Gary Goettsche kicked three balls out-of-bounds inside the Bearcat 20-yard-line.    


Both clubs committed eleven penalties, but an unsportsmanlike penalty assessed to Dominick Goodman after the first score of the game was particularly harmful.  Goodman, who had an otherwise terrific game with 11 catches for 141 yards, dove into the endzone after catching a 24 yard scoring strike from Ben Mauk.  The officials ruled the dive to be an excessive celebration and penalized the Bearcats 15 yards on the ensuing kickoff.  That penalty meant the Bearcats had to kickoff from their own 15-yard-line, and the potent Cardinals' offense was able to set up shop near midfield.  That possession resulted in a 52 yard drive for a game tying touchdown in the first quarter.


Personally, I have trouble interpreting a dive into the end zone as excessive celebration since so many defenders are taught to try and punch the football out when chasing an offensive player from behind.  Making that foul a 15 yard penalty seems even more outrageous.  Nevertheless, the Bearcats need to understand that the penalty will be called if the officials believe the dive wasn't unnecessary.


The Bearcat defense did manage to put good pressure on Louisville's All-American quarterback candidate, Brian Brohm, by recording three sacks on the night, but Brohm also did an excellent job of escaping two or three other situations that looked like sure sacks for the Bearcats.


The Bearcat offense just seemed out of sync most of the night while facing a Cardinal defense that had struggled most of the year.  In addition to the two fumbles, there were too many poorly thrown balls, ill-timed penalties and even some crucial dropped passes by Cincinnati.


Defensively, the Bearcats who were leading the country in generating turnovers were unable to get any.  Their best opportunity came on a fumble deep in Cardinal territory that squirted away from the Bearcats and was recovered by a Louisville offensive lineman.


As mentioned earlier in the week by Bearcat Insider, three high school players that had verbally committed to the Bearcats were making their official visits.  Dominique Battle, Darrin Williams and Bruce Horner all attended the game with their parent(s).  There were also a number of others who had verbally committed to UC making unofficial visits including Jared Rains, Camerron Cheatham, Patrick Omameh, Dan Giordano and Ike Iloegbu.


Other significant recruits that I saw were junior receivers Jamie Wood and Patrick White from Pickerington Central High School.  Patrick is Terrance White's younger brother, and Terrance was a major prospect last season until his third knee surgery.  Terrance accompanied his brother to the game.  Josh Smith from Withrow High School was in attendance and said he would love to get an offer from Cincinnati.  The big safety claimed offers from Northern Illinois, Akron, Ohio University, Kent State, Central Michigan, Purdue and Michigan State.  Bearcats Insider wrote about Josh back on March 21-st.  Princeton High School's outstanding sophomore quarterback, Spencer Ware, attended the game as did Trotwood's Doug Rippy.


The Bearcats travel to Pittsburgh next weekend and will try to get their first win in seven tries against the Panthers. 

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