The Cincinnati Bearcats football team fell out of bowl contention this evening, losing to the Temple Owls 35-24 at Nippert Stadium. The defeat drops UC to 3-7 while Temple, who improved to 5-5, has played itself back into contention for the postseason.
Despite their youth, Temple looked like a veteran team that was ready for the bright lights of prime time ESPN coverage. Cincinnati, conversely, has a lot of work to do to earn back the respect of their AAC peers.
The Bearcats offense looked strong at times. Hayden Moore, in particular, played some gutsy football this evening. He tossed third quarter touchdown passes to Mike Boone and Thomas Geddis while posting 217 passing yards. Moore faced frequent harassment by the Temple front seven, but persevered his way to an additional 75 yards on the ground over 11 carries.
Unfortunately, the Cincinnati offense was thoroughly stymied in the first half. UC’s second half outburst proved too little, too late to keep up with the strong performances turned in by Temple’s rapidly improving skill position players.
I’ve seen Temple play several times this season and have not witnessed such a strong quarterbacking performance by any of their succession of signal callers. Frank Nutile, who completed nearly two-thirds of his passes, is emerging as the leader of this late-blooming Owl ballclub.
Defensively, the Bearcats took a significant step backwards from their steady performance against Tulane. Tonight, the Owls were largely able to impose their will against Cincinnati on the ground and in the air.
Cincinnati finishes its 2017 football slate with highly winnable contests against East Carolina and UConn. The way that the Bearcats perform in those games will go a long way towards showing us how well this often overmatched team is responding to head coach Luke Fickell.