On August 29th, Cincinnati Bearcats kick off the 2019 season against UCLA, with the Bruins coming to Nippert Stadium. It’s the second game of a home-and-home series, signed a couple years ago. Cincinnati won last year’s opener 26-17 at the Rose Bowl, in what proved to be a major breakthrough moment for Luke FIckell and the Bearcats, en route to an 11-2 season.
It’s not often Cincinnati plays a team from the PAC-12. Only 7 times (including last year) have the Bearcats played a team that currently plays in the PAC-12 conference and they are 5-2 against those five teams (1-0 vs UCLA, 2-0 vs Oregon State, 2-0 vs Arizona State, 0-1 vs Colorado, 0-1 vs Washington).
Oregon State is the only true PAC-10/12 team that has played at Nippert Stadium. That happened back in 2007, as part of the last home-and-home series Cincinnati played against a PAC-12 team.
Bearcats beat Oregon State in week 2 of the 2007 season, which was really the start of a special Bearcats run. That 2007 season was Brian Kelly’s first and ended with Cincinnati going 10-3, the program’s first 10 win season since 1951.
Ben Mauk started 12 games at QB in 2007, after transferring in from Wake Forest. He completed 15 of 23 passes, for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns. Those TD passes went to Marcus Barnett, for the first of his career, and senior RB Greg Moore. Connor Barwin, who later converted to defense and carved out a nice NFL career, caught 2 passes for 15 yards.
After leading 10-3 at the half, Bearcats really turned on the jets in the third quarter, scoring 24 points. There was a Bradley Glatthaar touchdown run, Mauk to Moore touchdown pass, a blocked kick returned for a touchdown by Marcus Barnett, and a 55 yard field goal by Jake Rodgers.
Bearcats defense picked off six passes - two for Haruki Nakamura, two for Deangelo Smith, and one each for Corey Smith and Brad Jones.
Bearcats would go on to win the game 34-3.
Two years later, Cincinnati went into Corvalis, Oregon in week 3 and won 28-18. Legendary QB Tony Pike threw for 332 yards and 2 touchdowns - one to DJ Woods (7 catches, 117 yards) and Mardy Gilyard (9 catches, 65 yards, touchdown). Much more on this game to come as we go down memory lane and celebrate the 2009 team throughout this season.
Will the Bearcats sweep UCLA and use another win against a PAC-12 team to propel another special season?