Boy was I wrong.
The Bearcats stuffed the Beavers’ ground game, limiting star tailback Yvenson Bernard to 30 yards on 16 carries and just 17 yards on seven receptions. Cincinnati swarmed to the ball defensively and the Beavers couldn’t get anything going on the ground.
Aside from the interceptions, which of course were a huge part of the game, the numbers put up by OSU quarterbacks Sean Canfield and Lyle Moevao aren’t terrible. They combined to complete 32 of 54 passes for 274 yards – that is 59.3 percent, pretty decent. The problem is all the interceptions.
I want to focus on two of Canfield’s picks. The second, I thought it was clear his arm was bumped on the throw and he couldn’t follow through, which means the ball wasn’t quite where he wanted it. And the third interception was the one at the sideline, called an incomplete pass on the field and was overturned.
I took off my orange colored glasses, watched the reply a bunch of times, and here is my conclusion: since it was ruled incomplete on the field, I feel that ruling should have stood up; however, had it been called an interception on the field, I’d say it was an interception. To me, it was one of those bang-bang plays where there was not enough video evidence to overturn the call in either way.
Lets get to the mistakes on special teams. It was nice to see Sammie Stroughter back out on the field and he did have a nice return early in the game, however, in the third quarter he should not have even tried to field that ball. Replay did show Stroughter was bumped by a Cincinnati cover person, then comes the ball, then come the Bearcats recovering the ball on the 2-yard line and scoring two plays later.
Growing up a football fan, I always learned a punt returner should plant his feet on the 10-yard line (if the situation warrants the returner going back that far), and if the ball goes over his head, let it go, make the other team make a play. If they kill it inside the 10, take your medicine. Hopefully it will bounce in the end zone and your team gets the ball on the 20. But under no circumstances should a punt returner retreat inside the 10 to attempt to catch the ball.
As for the blocked punt, I was pretty depressed by that point and I didn’t see exactly what happened, but I know this…it shouldn’t have happened. Blocked punts should never happen, but the reality is they do and hopefully this is the only one this season.
As I have sat around the past few days digesting this game I’m not exactly sure what to think. Part of me thinks it certainly can’t get any worse than this. It was all turnovers and we beat ourselves, rather than Cincinnati beating us, but saying that just makes me feel like a “homer.” I definitely don’t think the season is over.
The Beavers need better play from the quarterback position, that is obvious. I don’t think whichever quarterback plays needs to make a ton of plays, Canfield or Moevao, possibly both, just need to manage the game. Take what the defense gives them. If teams load the box to stop Bernard, someone will be open, make the right read and get the open man the ball - that was what spring and fall camp was all about.
I don’t think there is an answer at quarterback right now; I’m not taking sides. They have both have had highs, and of course, they’ve both had lows. It did seem like the O-line gave them time to throw - they have only been sacked twice in two games.
One thing that did bother me though about Canfield was his 4-yard run in the second quarter. It looked to me that he could have run north and south and got one or two more yards, but that is a moot point now.
I’ve come to the conclusion that this is our one, “What the heck was that?” game of the season. Things will get better from here. The line will get better and this will be Bernard’s worse game of the year.
There will not be another game this season when OSU had THIS many mistakes. Seven turnovers, a blocked punt, Stroughter’s mistake – again, I feel the refs missed a call on that one – I don’t think there is anyway all of that stuff will happen in the same game again.
I do want to give credit to the defense. The Beaver ‘D’ gave up just 30 yards on the ground and 199 through the air. Sure Cincinnati scored 34 points, but 31 were off turnovers and the other three, a 55-yard field goal, came after a 15-yard pass interference penalty – one I just didn’t see.
I’m certainly looking for better things this coming Saturday.
Come by and say hi if you want, sec. 12, row 4, seat 19 – I’ll be in my orange Chad Johnson jersey.
Jake Schubert is a new/old contributor to BeaverFootball.com. He writes for the Newport News-Times in Newport, Oregon and can be reached at email@example.com. Jake has been to every home football at OSU for eight consecutive years and he is looking to make it nine this year.