Winning is fun. Winning is especially fun when its not stressful. Saturday was fun and definitely not stressful.
The Cincinnati Bearcats improved to 8-1 and remained unbeaten in AAC play (5-0) with a 48-3 victory over UConn (2-8, 0-6). With UConn preparing for Independence beginning in 2020, this is the last meeting between the schools for the foreseeable future. And thank god.
I’m not sure we learned too much about this Cincinnati team on Saturday. This was a glorified scrimmage and any FCS school would have provided better competition for Cincinnati.
Cincinnati scored on their first three possessions. Bearcats first drive began on their own 38 yard line and progressed really quickly. Desmond Ridder threw an 18 yard touchdown pass to Josiah Deguara to conclude a quick 4 play, 68 yard drive in 90 seconds.
The second drive ended with a 6 yard Michael Warren II touchdown (his first of two for the game) and the third drive stalled a bit, but ended with kicker Cole Smith hitting a 45 yard field goal. Smith is the designated “long kicker” and is now 2/2 on the season, having hit a 50 yarder a few weeks ago against Tulsa. That kick came at the very beginning of the second quarter.
After UConn’s defense incredibly forced a punt, Cincinnati scored a touchdown on three straight possessions to close out the half and go into the locker room up 38-0.
Those touchdowns were scored by:
- Michael Warren 1 yard run
- Gerrid Doaks 1 yard run
- Josiah Deguara 15 yard pass reception from Ridder
Cincinnati outscored UConn 10-3 in the second half, as the backups mostly played. Third string RB Ryan Montgomery scored his first career touchdown in the fourth quarter, an exciting development given the news that two running backs transferred from Cincinnati this week.
By the Numbers
Every other stat is meaningless compared to this one - TWO PENALTIES. TWO!!!!! 2! Cincinnati was called for TWO PENALTIES on Saturday. Amazing turnaround, for a team that has been very undisciplined all season and is among the country’s most penalized teams. Kudos to the coaching staff and certainly to the players for cleaning that up and let’s hope that can be maintained through this final stretch run.
Cincinnati is 20-3 since the start of the 2018 season and 12-2 against AAC teams.
Ridder, Warren, and Doaks combined to run for 277 yards on 34 carries (8.1 yards per carry).
3rd multi-TD game for Warren in 2019 and 10th of his career.
Warren is now 3rd all time in UC history in career rushing touchdowns (29).
First career multi-TD catch game for Deguara (caught one, and “ran” for one vs Marshall earlier this year).
5 sacks for the Bearcats defense, including 2 for Curtis Brooks
LB Bryan Wright led the team with 11 tackles.
Safety Darrick Forrest had an interception, the defense’s lone turnover.
Ethan Tucky blocked a punt for the second time this season.
UConn used two quarterbacks, who both stunk. They combined to complete 10 of 23 passes for 70 yards and an interception.
A week after Cincinnati allowed over 700 yards of offense to ECU, the defense held UConn to 218 yards.
Success of Gerrid Doaks
Doaks led the Bearcats in rushing in 2017 with just 513 yards. He sat out 2018 due to injuries and was clearly frustrated. His absence allowed Michael Warren to breakout and claim the position and there were questions about how Doaks would fit in in 2019. Those questions have been answered and Doaks has been dominant of late.
Saturday was his second career 100+ yard rushing day (123 yards) and 3rd straight game with a touchdown.
Bearcats running back depth took a hit this week when Tavion Thomas announced his decision to transfer (as did walk on JJ Davis). Doaks, only a junior, still has a year left. He could have easily opted to transfer and get a fresh start elsewhere. That’s what most college players have been doing the last few years, but Doaks is special. He chose to stay at UC and compete and work his tail off to get into the lineup and look at him now. There is a clear role with him as RB 1B, to Warren being RB 1A. Cincinnati will need both men down the stretch.
Seeing his success has been one of the Bearcats best stories in 2019.
UConn is leaving the AAC after this season and good riddance. For a while, I was disappointed because it would mean the Bearcats would have to work harder for an extra win each year, in both football and basketball. But I’m over it. UConn is terrible and they reflect poorly on the conference. I’d rather have watched Cincinnati play a “real” team yesterday, to learn something about them and watch them continue to grow, as opposed to a “practice” which is what that game felt like. I’d rather suffer a potential loss than continuing to waste our time blowing them out.
Three games to go for the Bearcats in the 2019 regular season - @ South Florida at 7pm on CBS Sports Net (AGAIN, ugh) next Saturday. Senior night the following Saturday, with Temple coming to Nippert Stadium, and the Bearcats close out the regular season on the Friday after Thanksgiving at Memphis.
Cincinnati needs to win two of the final three to secure a spot in the AAC Championship game, for the first time. Winning out (including AAC title game) would mean being the highest ranked Group of Five champion and playing in the Cotton Bowl on 12/28.