Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
The Bearcats showed plenty of flaws on defense and offense, but Brendon Kay replacing Munchie Legaux is the only storyline that anyone will talk about coming out of this game. By making the move, and inserting Kay, the Munchie era has come to an end. That will dominate the headlines, but Kay isn't the reason this team picked up win number 6.
Brendon Kay was good in his quarter and a half as starter, 3 for 3 with 32 yards passing, and a TD, not to mention the 32 yards rushing. But the Bearcats won this game on defense. Cuse completely lit up the defense in the first half. UC surrendered 271 yards, 17 points and 5.2 yards per play in the first half. In the second half, 154 yards, on 4.3 per play, and just a 7 points. After Syracuse took the first drive 75 yards for a score they managed just 79 yards the rest of the game. Keep in mind that UC did that down two starters. Deven Drane and Arryn Chenault were both limited today. Drane played, Chenault did not.
The Brendon Kay story is going to dominate the headlines, and talk about this game, and he should. The offense took a leap in effectiveness with him in there. But don't let that overshadow the performance of this defense in the second half. They were spectacular down the stretch. This is the stat of the day for me. Over the final 5 drives of the game Syracuse averaged 3.2 yards per play. That is a marked improvement over the last second half the Bearcats played. Rejoice in the ascension of Brendon Kay, but take a good hard look at this defense. They turned the tenor of the game with Chris Williams flying squirrel strip sack of Ryan Nassib and did as much to win this game as the offense.