10 Best Moments of the 2010 Football/Basketball Season - #10: UC's final drive vs. Louisville

With only one month left until the beginning of football season, Down the Drive will be breaking down the best moments of the past football and basketball season to get you geared up for the 2011 seasons. Let's face it, even though one month doesn't sound like much, August will be the longest month of your life if you've been waiting to watch live football and/or basketball through the past spring and summer (like me). It's the hottest part of summer, reruns of your favorite shows are all over tv, and the only sport to watch right now is baseball. So hopefully this will help either gear you up for 2011 or stop you from going crazy. Either way, enjoy the countdown.

Coming in at #10 is UC's final drive against Louisville. The game in general was great as the Bearcats sported their shiny new jerseys and beat the Cardinals on their home turf to retain the Keg of Nails trophy. It was the first conference game of the season and the fact that it was a win gave us UC fans some hope that the team could turn around its season in Big East play. There were a lot of amazing individual plays in this game. DJ Wood's gutsy touchdown catch across the middle where he was nearly knocked out on the play and Armon Binns' game winning touchdown come to mind. Even Cam Cheatham's 4th down pass breakup on Louisville's final drive got me cheering from my couch but this countdown starts on a much different level.

 

 

 

Let's set up the moment for a second. Cam Cheatham just broke up Adam Froman's pass to Josh Bellamy to cause the Bearcats to takeover on downs from their own 12 yard line. It was still a one possession ballgame (35 - 27) and there was still 4:32 left on the clock. The game was far from over. If the Bearcatsdidn't get a couple of first downs the Cardinals would have taken over with enough time to possibly tie it up.

UC didn't let that happen.

Using a combination of halfback and quarterback draws, they methodically marched it down the field on a seven play, 30 yard drive to ice the game. The Bearcats' offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and pushed Louisville backwards, literally imposing their will on Cardinals' defense. It might not seem that significant but this drive in the grand scheme of things is one that is the epitome of the perfect run game in the spread offense, at least in Butch Jones's version of it anyways. Most of you probably remember the Orange Bowl game in 2009 against Virginia Tech and the horrible result of that game. Well one of the most annoying sequence of plays was in the 4th quarter when UC was inside the Hokies' five-yard line. Virginia Tech stuffed the Bearcats on four straight plays, the last of which was an awkward, slowly developing quarterback sneak by the lanky Tony Pike that had me throwing my bowl of nachos through the TV screen (seriously. wood bowl + glass screen = broken TV). Just take a look- Not at my obliteration of the TV but the actual play:

 

Worst Running Play in UC History.wmv (via cinbinsportsfan)

This play symbolizes the main weakness of the spread offense- Generally it can bog down near the opponent's goalline and teams settle for field goals instead of touchdowns.

Brian Kelly's offense saw running backs put up pretty good numbers but Kelly much preferred to pass the ball for big yards than chew up the clock on the ground. Sometimes the offense would score so fast the defense wouldn't have a chance to rest. Not in Butch Jones's system. He's readily claimed how he would rather have balance in his offense and wants to show the ability to pound the rock and dictate the flow of the game while at the same time being able to get huge chunks of yards through the air. If run properly, Coach Jones's offense could be an amazingly well balanced variation of the spread. The final drive against Louisville gives you a taste of the capability of the run game in this offense and how truly dominant it can be. If the Bearcats can find a way to perform this well in both aspects of the spread, they will put up tons of points at will in 2011.

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