UC Freezes out Herd In Ft. Worth Bowl, 32-14

Ft. Worth, Texas-- Cincinnati QB Gino Guidugli turned two broken bones in his hand into some fancy footwork all night long in the Fort Worth Bowl. The result was a dominating offensive effort on the Bearcats' behalf that lead to a 32-14 win over Marshall on the frozen grass at TCU's Amon Carter Stadium...

"I didn't know what to expect (from the hand)," said Guidugli after the game, "but my receivers stepped up and made some big plays."

"He was beating us with his feet," said Marshall end Jamus Martin of Guidugli. "He gets the ball, runs around, and finds his open receiver. And when he finds them, he hits them. He's a good, mobile quarterback."

Cincinnati racked up 399 total yards offense while limiting Marshall to only 134 yards. Guidugli completed 24-of-36 for 231 yards and two TDs en route to garnering bowl MVP honors.

UC shot out to the quick 7-0 lead courtesy of a blocked Ian O'Connor punt that was recovered by UC's Antwan Giddens on The Herd's first series of the game.

Marshall QB and Texas native Graham Gochneaur fumbled on the following possession, and the Bearcats turned that turnover into another three points for the 10-0 early lead via a Kevin Lovell 23-yard field goal.

Marshall quickly regrouped from that point, and QB Stan Hill drove The Herd downfield for a 12-play, 67-yard drive that ended with a 14-yard TD catch in the corner of the end zone by Josh Davis with 1:00 left in the first quarter. Davis would catch five passes for 67 yards on the night.

MU receiver Josh Davis scored with this 14-yard TD catch from Stan Hill in the first quarter.

Just two plays after that, MU linebacker Willie Smith capitalized on Guidugli's lone mistake of the night. Smith stepped in front of a Guidugli pass and intercepted it, returning the pick untouched 32 yards for the easy touchdown with just :16 left in the first quarter.

Cincinnati would take the lead for good with 4:31 left in the half as Guidugli hit Brent Celek on a 15-yard TD pass to give the Bearcats the go-ahead 17-14 score. He would repeat the task before the end of the half on a 11-play, 87-yard drive that ended with Earnest Jackson's leaping TD catch for the 24-14 halftime lead.

Any questions about Guidugli's hand health quickly dissipated after that.

" I couldn't stand on the sidelines and watch," Guidugli said after the game.

Willie Smith returned this interception of UC QB Gino Guidugli 32 yards for an early score in the Ft. Worth Bowl.

In the second half, things went downhill quickly for The Herd. UC used a dominating offensive line to run the ball at will in the third and fourth quarters.

"When you get three yards every time you run the ball, it doesn't take a rocket scientist, you know?" said Marshall defensive end Jamus Martin. "They had good play calling, basically."

UC's drives consumed time from the game clock, limiting The Herd to just three offensive possessions. On the defensive front, Cincinnati turned a Doug Monaghan interception of Stan Hill into another Lovell field goal. Lovell would add one more field goal in the game, a 35-yarder to go a perfect 3-for-3.

"We got beat on the lines today, and that's the first time this year we've really been beat on the lines," added Marshall coach Bob Pruett.

UC would block a second O'Connor punt in the third quarter. MU punter Ian O'Connor fell on the block for the UC safety with 9:42 left in the game.

"I don't know what happened to our punt coverage," MU coach Bob Pruett said.

Marshall moved to an even 6-6 record to end the 2004 season with the loss to Cincinnati. The Bearcats bumped up to 7-5 overall with the bowl win, which was their fourth bowl win in their last eight appearances. Marshall's streak of five consecutive bowl wins was snapped in the process.

"We just got beat tonight," Pruett summed up.

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