It’s Homecoming on Saturday at Nippert Stadium as the Cincinnati Bearcats (7-1, 4-0) host the UConn Huskies (2-7, 0-5), for what is likely the last meeting between the two teams for the foreseeable future.
This will be the 16th meeting and the 15th as conferences foes in the Big East/AAC. Cincinnati is 12-3 all-time vs UConn. They played one game in 2001 and have played every year from 2005-2018 in Big East/AAC play.
Here are some notes on the overall series:
- Cincinnati 8-0 vs UConn at Nippert
- 5 games scoring 40 or more points
- Cincinnati has outscored UConn by an averaged of 31.6 - 21 in 15 games
Let’s first take a look at the three losses, which all happened at Rentschler Field.
Background: 2008 was a special year for the Bearcats, who won the Big East championship for the first time. Cincinnati finished the season 11-3 and 6-1 in Big East play. The one loss actually came at UConn (the other two losses were week 2 at Oklahoma and Orange Bowl vs Virginia Tech).
After original starting QB Dustin Grutza broke his leg in the week 2 Oklahoma loss, a tall, strong armed QB named Tony Pike took over. But Pike broke his non-throwing arm during his second career start against Akron.
Cincinnati entered this UConn game on a 4-game winning streak and Pike returning to the starting lineup, but ultimately was not healthy enough to play and it showed in his ineffective play. Pike completed 10 of 27 passes for 136 yards and threw 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
About the game: It was a cold and rainy day and nothing went right for Cincinnati. Among the difficult numbers:
- Bearcats were 0-for-14 on third down.
- RBs Jacob Ramsey and John Goebel ran for a combined 49 yards.
- 6 turnovers for Cincinnati (3 interceptions, 3 fumbles lost).
The only real positive was a 54 yard field goal from Cincinnati kicker Jake Rodgers, right before the half to give Cincinnati a 13-10 lead going into the locker room. But UConn would go on to outscore Cincinnati 30-3 in the second half
Background: This was the first year under Butch Jones and ended a disappointing 4-8. UConn finished the regular season 8-4 and won the Big East, representing the conference in the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma, this coming off the heals of Cincinnati’s back-to-back BCS appearances.
This game was the Bearcats’ 7 loss of the season, meaning a bowl game was definitely out of the question.
Since 2010, UConn has made just 1 bowl game and has not had a winning record.
About the game: Bearcats made this game exciting in the 4th quarter, getting within 24-17, but on the next two posssessions for UConn, RB Jordan Todman would run for TDs and put the game away 38-17.
QB Zach Collaros struggled, throwing 4 interceptions, with 2 of them coming in the final minute of the game. He threw 1 TD and ran for another and also led the team in rushing with 84 yards, while RB Isaiah Pead ran for just 23 yards
Background: Tommy Tuberville’s last season at Cincinnati was a 4-8 disaster, and that included a loss at UConn.
About the game: This was a nightmare. Bearcats didn’t score a touchdown. It was one of ___ in 2016, in which that was the case. In the second quarter, Josh Pasley kicked 3 field goals (25, 43, 26) and actually led 9-7 at halftime.
Those 3 field goals were all of the scoring the Bearcats would get. UConn ultimately scored 20 unanswered points and kicked a field goal late in the fourth, that put this game away once and for all.
Cincinnati ran the ball 22 times and QB Hayden Moore threw it 56 times.
Primetime in 2009
Obviously, everyone knows how the 2009 season ended for Cincinnati.
One of the few obstacles they faced was at the beginning of November against UConn. The Bearcats won 47-45 in a game that took place on ABC Primetime.
With just over a minute to go, on 4th down up 40-38, Isaiah Pead took the carry 14 yards for a touchdown to put the game away for good.
How great is it hearing Brent Musberger calling this game? Also, that crowd....
Zach Collaros threw for 480 yards and 1 TD, ran for 75 yards and 2 TDs. Pead, who had the big go-ahead TD, ran for 67 yards and 2 TDs and RB Jacob Ramsey led all of them with 91 yards rushing.
Mardy Gilyard caught 12 passes for 172 yards and Armon Binns caught the lone TD pass, catching 5 total passes for 108 yards.
Cincinnati totaled 711 yards of offense. UConn had 462 yards. Neither team turned the ball over.
2017 - Luke Fickell’s first season at UC was a challenging one, as the Bearcats completed a second consecutive 4-8 season. It easily could have been 3-9 if not for a crazy, chaotic finish to end the final game of the season.
QB Hayden Moore scored on a 4 yard rushing TD with 1:30 remaining.
Down 22-15, UConn than marched down the field. An incomplete pass turned into defensive pass interference, giving UConn one untimed down, and the Huskies would score to cut the lead to 22-21. Their intention was to go for two points, but an unsportsmanlike taunting penalty cost them 15 yards. Backed up, UConn was forced to kick and would miss the 36 yard extra point and the season would end with both teams finishing 4-8 and 2-6 in AAC play.
2018 - UConn inexplicably scored on their first possession, two minutes into the game. Fortunately, the defense locked down and the offense locked in as the Bearcats scored 49 unanswered points and won 49-7.
Desmond Ridder completed 20 of 26 passes, throwing for 270 yards and 2 TDs and also running for 47 yards and a TD.
The Bearcats ran for 5 TDs - Michael Warren (2), Tavion Thomas, Ridder, and Hayden Moore. Warren had a huge game, gaining 8.2 yards per carry, running for 106 yards on 13 carries.
TE Josiah Deguara led the way among receivers, tied (with Thomas Geddis) for a game-high 5 catches and 115 yards and a 38 yard touchdown on the second play of the second half.
As a team, Cincinnati had 659 yards of offense, while holding UConn to 266
2012 Big East title
In 2012, Cincinnati finished the regular season 9-3, in what would be Butch Jones’ final season at UC and the regular season finale vs UConn, would be his final game. Bearcats won 34-17 and finished 5-2 in the Big East, winning a share of the Big East title. Louisville won the head-to-head matchup, giving them the BCS bowl bid.
The highlight of this game was the connection of QB Brendon Kay and TE Travis Kelce. On the Bearcats’ first possession, Kay hit Kelce for a 25 yard touchdown. In the second quarter, the script was flipped, and Kelce threw a 39 yard TD pass to Kay on a trick play. On the first possession of the third quarter, Kay found Kelce again for a 21 yard TD.