South Florida moves to 7-4 on the season as they out-played and out-coached Cincinnati in an underwhelming effort for the red and black. The Bulls did anything they wanted in this one and won by a final score of 65-27. For the Bearcats, this is just about as bad as you ever thought it could get, as they now fall to 6-5 on the year after the eye-opening defeat.
South Florida got things going very early and very often in this one. After receiving the opening kickoff, Bulls QB Quinten Flowers found WR Rodney Adams for a 67-yard score on the first play from scrimmage and the blocked PAT was the only thing that went right for the Bearcats in this quarter. On the following drive, QB Hayden Moore replaced Gunner Kiel for a play because of a helmet loss and that ultimately winded up as a strip sack and recovery for South Florida. Three plays later, the Bulls capitalized when Flowers again threw a TD pass --this time a six-yarder to TE Sean Price. After a Gunner Kiel overthrow and interception, Flowers would throw his third and final TD of the quarter to WR Jordan Reed for a one-yard scoring pass. Unfortunately for Cincinnati, it wasn't the last points for the Bulls in the first period. After Sam Geraci punted it back to the Bulls, they put a seven-play scoring drive together that was capped by RB Marlon Mack finding the endzone on a 28-yard TD run.
Down 27-0 heading into the second, the only hope was that the Bearcats could get something going. They couldn't. On the third play of the quarter, Hayden Moore, who replaced Gunner Kiel, delivered a pick-six to Bulls CB Deatrick Nichols. After being down 34 points, UC was finally able to get on the board when Andrew Gantz knocked down a 44-yard field goal. It would be the only scoring for the Bearcats in the entire half. Not for the Bulls though, as Flowers found the aforementioned Price for a 46-yard pass and score just one play after returning the ensuing kickoff. Following that up would be Mack running for his second touchdown of the game from ten yards out. The half ended with Bulls kicker Emilio Nadelman taking advantage of another UC turnover by drilling a 49-yard field goal at the halftime horn.
Surprisingly, Cincinnati was able to get things going in the third. It started when Gantz, who was responsible for the only UC points, connected on a 39-yard FG to make it a 51-6 game. After a Linden Stephens interception, the Bearcats added a TD on a Tion Green two-yard run out of the wildcat formation. Then, after forcing a Bulls punt, Hayden Moore hooked up with WR Chris Moore on a long 54-yard TD reception. On the catch, Moore would break the UC record for touchdown catches in a career. While the Bearcats seemed to be making the game respectable, backup QB Steven Bench had something to say about that as he took a 14-yard run for six points.
Much like the third period, it was also UC putting up the initial points of the fourth after Mark Wilson recovered a fumble on a high snap which wasn't controlled by Bench. Cincinnati took advantage as Green reached the scoring zone for a second time on a 11-yard scamper to make it 58-27. It was the Bulls who put the finishing touches on this one, as Bench floated a two-yard pass to WR A.J. Legree on fourth down to move the score to 65-27, which would be the final.
For Cincinnati, after a disappointing outing, they will square off against East Carolina next Saturday in hopes to finish the regular season on a positive note. The Pirates are currently 5-6 this year and will be playing for bowl eligibility next in eight days, so surely the Bearcats will get their best shot.