The Cincinnati Bearcats scored a first quarter TD against an FBS team for the first time since last November. They then proceeded to find themselves in yet another first quarter hole thanks to a solid Temple drive that saw the Owls work the Bearcats defense with short crossing routes setting up a deep strike off the same action.
Ralph David Abernathy IV fumbled on the ensuing kickoff setting up Temple in good field position at the UC 24 which they promptly turned into a TD and a first quarter lead. Visions of South Florida and Illinois danced through the Bearcats heads.
That was not the Bearcats fate tonight. After the Owls went on top the Bearcats next five drives went; Touchdown (Anthony McClung reception), Punt (downed at the Temple 1), Touchdown (Brendon Kay rush), Touchdown (Tion Green rush), and Touchdown (McClung again) and the Bearcats effectively seized control and strangled the game to death as best they could.
It wasn't an Alabama level suffocation, but it was clear from the start of the third quarter that the Owls weren't going to get it done. Art Kaufman made some great adjustments to shut down some of the misdirection looks that Temple exploited to good effect. In the first half Temple rolled up 271 yards on a little over 8 yards per play. In the second half Temple gained 106 yards, on 26 plays, an average of 4.4 per play.
It was an uneven performance. The Bearcats still have a tendency to let the opposition off the hook on third down defense. Temple exploited the aggressiveness of the Cincinnati linebackers in much the same way that Illinois did with misdirection and movement before the snap. The offense still lacks that killer instinct that all great teams have. Still its a win, a win that was desperately needed for the Bearcats.
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