Man, did that one feel good!
UC won its first road game against a Big Ten opponent since the Eisenhower Administration in dominant fashion. They overwhelmed a Purdue team that many in the gridiron cognoscenti assumed would be athletically and physically superior to the Bearcats.
Instead, the Cincinnati Bearcats gave the Purdue Boilermakers hell all afternoon on both sides of the ball.
UC forced five turnovers out of the Boilermakers, every one of them an interception thrown by Purdue's sophomore quarterback David Blough. Blough threw for an unacceptable 401 yards against the Bearcats defense. Thankfully, the 2016 reemergence of the Cincinnati secondary as a ball hawking posse more than made up for this. Mike Tyson's three interceptions were a thing to behold. He will almost certainly be the AAC defense player of the week.
The offensive line, particularly Ryan Leahy and Deyshawn Bond, escorted UC backs up and down the field all afternoon, compiling net 262 rushing yards on 46 carries. Running backs Mike Boone (18 carries for 78 yards) and Tion Green (16 carries for 54 yards) both posted solid performances. Hayden Moore once again proved his skills as a scrambler, compiling 62 rushing yards which were punctuated by his game clinching 23-yard touchdown run with 2:13 remaining. Khalil Lewis' 79 yard, first quarter end-around was a thing of beauty that capitalized on Mike Tyson's first interception.
Hayden Moore missed some open targets today, but turned in a strong overall performance. He made use of the time the UC offensive line gave him to hit a range of receivers. All told, Moore went 19 for 32 with 250 yards and three touchdown passes.
Cincinnati played a smart game today. I don't remember too many +5 turnover games last season for the Bearcats. Seeing the Bearcats commit fewer than a half-dozen penalties was also a breath of fresh air. Cincinnati didn't muster much of a pass rush today, but the Bearcats' defensive staff rarely sent more than three or four rushers after the Purdue quarterback. The bend-but-don't-break approach strategy employed by the Cincinnati defense proved the perfect foil to a gunslinger like David Blough. Time will tell if they use this strategy against Houston's All-American quarterback, Greg Ward Jr.
Beating Purdue today was a big win for the Cincinnati program. In five days, they face an even bigger challenge at home against Houston. I, for one, feel good about our chances on Thursday night.