Either East Carolina were playing possum before today or the Cincinnati Bearcats just played their worst game of the season. Against a Pirates squad that was 2-8 entering play, the Bearcats were lit up for 578 total yards in a 48-20 road loss at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
The pain started right away, as ECU went up 21-0 early in the second quarter following touchdown receptions from Tahj Deans and Jimmy Williams as well as a rushing score from Hussein Howe. UC finally answered with a big play soon after Williams’ touchdown, as Kahlil Lewis scored on a 75-yard touchdown catch and run. Then, near the end of the first half, JaQuay Savage caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Hayden Moore and it looked like a game was the foot.
Sorry, Andy, that was not the case.
On their first offensive play of the second half, the Pirates scored on a 95-yard touchdown pass to Trevon Brown. That began a painful final two quarters which featured another 24 points for the Pirates, who scored that same number in the first half.
Gardner Minshew looked like Shane Carden out there in the ECU win. The Pirates quarterback threw for four touchdowns and 444 yards on 31-of-45 passing. While Minshew did his best impression of a former ECU great, Brown did the same thing, looking very Zay Jones-esque with 270 yards and two scores on nine catches.
ECU ran 20 more plays that the Bearcats (79-59) and went 8-for-16 on third down. UC’s third down troubles returned, with just 3-of-10 tries successful for the visitors.
Moore did throw three touchdown passes in this game, but aside from the 75-yard connection with Lewis, he was limited to short pass after short pass after short pass. He finished with 187 yards on 15-of-28 passing and was not helped by an overly potent run game, with the Bearcats managing 109 yards from their running backs.
There is but one more game left for UC in year one of the Luke Fickell administration. With a 3-8 record (1-6 in AAC play), the Bearcats will host the UConn Huskies in their regular season finale next Saturday at Nippert Stadium.