Until this season, the Cincinnati Bearcat football program had beaten only two ranked opponents on the road in the program's history. Keep in mind that the Bearcats have been playing football since 1885. Brian Kelly's 2007 Bearcats accomplished that feat in just one season. The 2007 Bearcats beat the #21 ranked Rutgers Scarlet Knights on October 6th and more recently beat the #20 ranked South Florida Bulls on Saturday afternoon on regional ABC television.
Joe Tresey's defense led the Bearcats by tying a school record of eight turnovers, four interceptions and four fumble recoveries. A school record of nine turnovers was denied when the officials overturned what looked to be a Ryan Manalac interception in the final quarter.
Cincinnati got off to an inauspicious start after surrendering two touchdowns before the Bearcat defense stepped foot onto the field. A Ben Mauk pass was intercepted by Trae Williams and returned for a Bull touchdown on Cincinnati's first possession. The Bearcats tied the score with a 63 yard scoring strike from Mauk to Antwuan Giddens in the initial quarter before Mike Jenkins returned a Bearcat kickoff for a 100 yard touchdown giving South Florida a 14-7 lead.
After a Jake Rogers' 38 yard field goal, the Cincinnati special teams gave the Bearcats the lead for good after Connor Barwin blocked a South Florida punt, and Antwuan Giddens recovered the ball in the Bulls' end zone giving the Bearcat a 17-14 advantage.
Mike Mickens then picked off a Matt Grothe pass and returned it 79 yards for a UC score extending Cincinnati's lead to 24-14. A Dominick Goodman touchdown catch stretched the Bearcat lead to 31-14 in the first quarter.
A couple of Delbe Alvardo field goals sandwiched around an Earnest Jackson touchdown sent the Bearcat to the locker room with a 38-20 lead at the half.
Even though the Bearcats did not score in the second half, the UC defense continued to get crucial South Florida turnovers in the 3 hour and 34 minute contest.
Overall, the Bearcats were out gained 481 to 375 yards by the Bulls, but Cincinnati created the eight turnovers to go with a blocked punt for a touchdown and a successful fake punt that gained UC a first down.
The Bearcat defense recorded only two sacks but pressured Matt Grothe throughout the afternoon and got an astounding eight tackles for loss led by Anthony Hoke, Ryan Manalac and Lamonte Nelsm with two apiece.
Cincinnati improves its record to 7-2 and returns home next weekend for another game against a ranked opponent in the Connecticut Huskies.
Bearcats Knock Off Second Ranked Road Foe
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