Imagine racing someone who has a broken leg? That’s what this game has felt like the last couple of years. UConn is nowhere near Cincinnati’s level and is more of an FCS team, than a viable group of five team. Bearcats won 48-3, one year after winning 49-7.
10. @ USF
Cincinnati won 20-17 on a last second field goal. The team came out very flat in an empty stadium and put together a pretty uninspiring performance. Cincinnati had just 278 yards of offense and only 78 yards passing from QB Desmond Ridder. What adds to the frustration of this game is it came two weeks after ECU (more below) and a few weeks after a difficult game against Tulsa.
This game was special because it was the celebration of the 2009 Bearcats. Brian Kelly was there. Travis Kelce was there. And fortunately for Cincinnati, RB Gerrid Doaks was there. Doaks ran for 91 yards and 2 touchdowns and also caught the first receiving touchdown of his career, giving him his first ever 3-TD game as he contributed to all 3 touchdowns in a 24-13 win.
I’m sorry but there is nothing satisfying about beating Miami to me. Not at this stage of both program’s lifestyles. Sure, it’s fun to watch the players celebrate and ring the bell. But beating them means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things.
A lot of fans are over this rivalry and want to move on. I think there’s ways to revise the series without dropping it or letting it lose too much luster. But one thing I appreciated in 2019, is that there was no FCS opponent for UC. You cant have UConn, Miami, AND an FCS team on the schedule - it’s too much overkill.
After a slow start, Cincinnati blew out Miami 38-13, thanks to 3 Michael Warren II touchdown runs. Fun fact - Miami has never said “we beat Cincinnati” on twitter because twitter didn’t exist the last time that happnee in 2005.
The week before beating Tulsa, Cincinnati went to Houston and won 38-23. It’s nice to beat a team coached by Dana Holgorson, even if Houston didn’t match the expectations set before the season. Bearcats defense forced 6 turnovers in the win. This was a game that always terrified me because it was the week after the emotional UCF win. It could have easily been a let-down spot, but the Bearcats stepped up, especially in the second half to avoid disappointment.
In hindsight, this win is less impressive than it could have been because the Bruins had another bad season in 2019. But this win set the tone for the season. It was a statement win from the stadnpoint that UCLA became the 6th straight power 5 opponent (since 2006) to come to Nippert Stadium and lose to Cincinnati.
Sentimentally, this game was important because Marshall came to Nippert Stadium during coach Fickell’s inaugural 2017 season and blew out the Bearcats. The timing of this game is what also adds to the satisfaction. Cincinnati started 2-1, but started slow in wins against UCLA and Miami and got blown out by Ohio State. Coming off a bye and winning 52-14 on the road, against a fiesty C-USA team, gave fans some confidence heading into conference play, which opened with UCF at home 5 days later.
4. Boston College
No one was excited to play a 6-6 ACC team in a low-level bowl game. Especially one year after playing 6-6 Virginia Tech in a bowl. But it’s satisfying to know that Cincinnati did what they were supposed to and won 38-7, blowing out the Eagles from start to finish.
It sucked that a 10-3 team (at the time) and played in the conference championship had to play in a nonsensical Birmingham Bowl, mid-day during a work day, but a win is a win, the bowl trophy gets add to the Lindner Center and the Bearcats can claim another P5 victory.
With all due respect to USF and ECU, this was easily the ugliest win of the season for Cincinnati, who won 15-13. The difference in the score was an extra point attempt that the Bearcats returned for 2 points. Cincinnati had just 210 yards of total offense, and just 62 yards passing as Desmond Ridder completed only 9 of 25 pass attempts.
So why in the world was this satisfying? Because as they had all year, they found a way to get the job done and snapped a 4 year losing streak to Temple while officially clinching the AAC East, earning a spot in the AAC Championship Game for the first time.
2. East Carolina
How can you give up 43 points and 638 yards to East Carolina and call this satisfactory? Because it was the moment I started to believe in destiny and thought this team had it.
This game has no business being ranked this high or should it have been as exciting and close as it was. Cincinnati trailed 40-28 heading into the fourth quarter. A touchdown catch by Josiah Deguara helped cut the lead to 5 and freshman CB Ahmad Gardner picked off a pass that he returned for a touchdown to give Cincinnati the lead. Sam Crosa nailed a last-second field goal to give Cincinnati the win.
Sure, it was way more of a struggle than it should have been, but it felt special to play so horribly on defense and struggle all game, but find a way to win on the road like this and save a potentially special season.
Friday night on national TV against a team that...
- Hadn’t lose a conference game in two years.
- Hosted College Gameday against UC one year prior.
- Absolutely destroyed the Bearcats the last time they met at Nippert (51-23 in a lightning-shortened game)
The moment was set up perfectly for Cincinnati and the moment was not too big for them. True freshman Ahmad Gardner made his presence known with a key pick six. The defense was absolutely incredible all game, containing the potent UCF offense and forcing several turnovers. And the offense made just enough plays and held on in the end to win 27-24, putting them in the driver’s seat to eventually win the AAC East.