On Saturday, Cincinnati lost to Ohio State 42-0 in a very disappointing game. Ohio State still has not lost to an active D1 FBS school in Ohio since the 19th century (1897) and Cincinnati was shutout for the first time since 2005.
Both teams punted in their first possessions. Ohio State moved the ball a bit before the drive stalled. Cincinnati went three-and-out after Ohio State pinned them at the 1 yard line to start the drive. Ohio State needed 41 yards on their second drive to score their first touchdown, seven minutes into the game.
After a 21 yard play on first down, Cincinnati would punt four plays later on their second possession and then things got interesting from there.
Ohio State was stopped on a fourth down on their third possession and Cincinnati would take over at their own 20. In Ohio State territory, QB Desmond Ridder would convert a fourth and 1 on a roll-out and keep the drive alive. Seven plays later, coach Luke Fickell was less aggressive and opted to kick a field goal on fourth and two from the OSU 14 yard line. The kick was blocked by Ohio State, who would go on to score on their next possession after a 6 play, 87 yard drive in less than two minutes.
Cincinnati’s next three possessions in the first half ended in a punt, two of Ohio State’s three possessions ended in a touchdown and the score at halftime was 28-0.
Nothing of great significance happened in the second half. Buckeyes tacked on a couple of touchdowns and Cincinnati still was unable to move the ball and do anything productive on offense.
What plagued the Bearcats
Beyond the obvious talent gap, the Bearcats beat the Bearcats, by failing to capitilize on the limited opportunities they had and by, once again, committing to many mistakes. Mistakes were a big issue against UCLA in week 1 (2 turnovers, missed field goal, 10 penalties) and once again, those same issues showed up.
Bearcats turned the ball over twice (0 for OSU) and once again committed 10 penalties (2 for OSU). One of those penalties is highlighted further below, and remains a big issue that Cincinnati must fix moving forward.
Game Changing Play
In the first quarter, on Ohio State’s third possession (that ultimately ended in a turnover on downs), WR KJ HIll fumbled in OSU territory and Cincinnati recovered, but a defensive holding penalty was called on the Bearcats that negated the penalty.
Cincinnati wound up holding Ohio State and missing a field goal on their next possession, but perhaps things would have been different if they were able to gain some momentum from an early turnover.
Luke Fickell’s moment squandered
Coming into the week, Fickell shielded his players from the media and talked about how this game was no bigger than any other. That it is not a rivalry and he is unemotional about returning to Ohio Stadium, where he spent much of his life.
After the game, Fickell admitted that he might have tried too hard to downplay the game.
Said coach “I didn’t do a very good job of preparing our guys. I think I tried to avoid it a little too much. We didn’t do a great job of handling it when it came down to it”
It was very obvious early, that the Bearcats were simply not ready for the big stage, and that is on the coach. It’s another learning experience for a guy still figuring things out and for a very young team. Bearcats will have more opportunities in the future, both this season and the coming years, to play in big games and this experience will help them grow.
Fickell claimed all week that this was not a “rivalry”, but this week is. Cincinnati (1-1) hosts Miami Ohio (1-1) at Nippert Stadium for the 124th edition of the Victory Bell rivalry.