Sorry if this is posted a little later than normal. I've been low on sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night hearing that UC touchdown cannon going off in my head all weekend.
Wow. Still hard to believe what we witnessed on Saturday night.
Touchdown after touchdown after touchdown. As I soaked in what happened at Nippert, I couldn't really wrap my head around if I enjoyed watching it or not. I think I settled on the fact I didn't.
The efficiency of the UC offense was something to behold. And I think we saw a glimpse of how dangerous this team can be when Zach Collaros can stand back in the pocket all day and throw without pressure while Isaiah Pead runs free. But the way players were running so wide open and uncontested on both sides of the ball remains burned into my brain as what I will remember most.
Some of the plays broke open by design, but others were blatant missed assignments all over the place. Call me old-fashioned, but a physical, fundamental defensive struggle excites me more than this new era spread offense Playstation shootout.
All that said, this UC offensive exhibition was one of the finest I've ever seen. And it goes to show that if Pead can have a big day, UC can't be stopped. When teams have to account for his breakaway ability running the ball, there is no way to account for the talents of Armon Binns and DJ Woods on the edges. Add in the wrinkle of using the tight ends more off play-action on Saturday and you have the recipe for 69 points.
--- The Bearcats talked all week about having fun again. Sure looked like fun to me. After the last three weeks, they deserved a laugh.
--- I don't know if you know this after Saturday, but scoring is on the rise in college football. Here are a few numbers to marinate on.
The 38 points by Rutgers in defeat was more than the combined points in each of the other three Big East games of the day.
--- In a wild year in the Big East I can't say I'm surprised a player from the highest scoring game in BIg East history was awarded a Defensive Player of the Week award, but Brandon Mills did deserved it.
He finished with 10 tackles, 3 sacks, 5.5 TFL and a forced fumble. He's come a long way this season and appears to finding his niche on this defense.
--- In the least shocking news you will hear until Lindsey Lohan goes back to jail, Isaiah Pead was named Big East Offensive Player of the Week.
A total of 31 rushes, 213 yards, 5 TDS, yeah, that should do it.
--- Dan Hoard opened his postgame column with a great line:
"I wonder if there has ever been a team in college football history that has been burned for three 50+ yard touchdown passes, had two kicks blocked, allowed three scoring drives that lasted fewer than 37 seconds . . . and won by 31 points."
--- No longer in Brian Bennett's basement.
--- OK, now let's talk basketball.
--- In my postgame column Saturday, I talked mostly about the problems shooting from behind the arc. When most fans walked away from that game, I think that was probably what stuck out.
But before we move on to tonight's tilt with the FAMU Rattlers, who will dazzle you with their amazing techna-colored uniforms, I wanted to revisit the first half of Saturday's game.
The Bearcats performance was extremely encouraging.
Every player took his turn making a run on the way to a 45-32 halftime advantage.
Ibrahima Thomas worked the glass for seven early points. Sean Kilpatrick hustled up a six-point run. Dion Dixon drove and worked the paint for a 6-point stretch. Cashmere Wright slipped into the lane to create six in a row.
The sum of the Bearcats parts we've heard so much about looked to add up to a substantial whole. For a half.
UC still waits for that complete game to occur. The good news is they have two games this week to make it happen before a huge matchup with Dayton on Saturday at US Bank.
--- Sean Kilpatrick did it again. He's turning into the surest thing not named Yancy Gates on this team. Kilpatrick at one point slid about 5-10 feet like he was on a slip and slide going after a loose ball.
"With the dive, it hurt like crazy," he said after.
But he didn't care. That's what you love about his game. And why he received a standing ovation coming off the floor. He makes the hustle plays, the smart basketball plays that are the difference between winning and losing.
The one 3-pointer UC did knock down in the second half came from Kilpatrick. His recollection was slightly off -- he couldn't remember the assist, which came from Cashmere Wright and not Yancy Gates -- but the look he remembers from Gates when he caught the ball wide open.
"The look on his face is, like, you better hit this shot. We need this."
--- My favorite quote of the day came from IPFW coach Dane Fife after talking about the size disadvantage his team faced: "I was mesmerized when I saw those guys in person. I don't remember teams being that big when I played and I played in the Big 10."
--- Oh, free throws. I hate talking about free throws. There is no way of improving except to shoot more in practice. They cost games, but it's an exercise in futility to discuss them. UC needs to make more, this is not a like discovering life on Mars.
But it certainly has the attention of Mick Cronin: "My biggest concern of this game is that. That is disappointing. We have done a great in all practice and all Fall."
UC finished the game 16 of 29 from the line for 54 percent.
The wildest element of the free throw shooting is Rashad Bishop has become the go-to FT shooter. He was a 57 percent guy last year and has hit 12 of 12 this season. Not only is he perfect, but hit the majority of those in high-pressure spots at the conclusion of two close wins.
--- Another nice quote from Cronin when asked about finding a player to step up and consistently hit shots from the perimeter, he rekindled the great Jim McKay of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers...
"That'd be great. I'm all for it."
--- UC takes on FAMU tonight at 7 p.m. and then hosts Savannah State on Wednesday night. The Dayton game will be at 7 p.m. at US Bank Arena Saturday.
UD is one of only three non-conference games against a team from a major conference. The other will be at Oklahoma and Xavier.
We will learn more about OU today. They started with three wins against inferior opponents, but play No. 13 Kentucky in Puerto at 5:30 today.
Xavier appeared to be down with the loss to D-II Bellarmine and OT victory against IPFW, but Tu Holloway realized he needs to take this team on his back for now and it's working. They won the Paradise Jam with a convincing win against Iowa and beat Seton Hall (without top scorer Jeremy Hazell) on Sunday.
Dayton will be the first big test of the year, however, and they look to be putting it together after a wild comeback win against Ole Miss.
--- The last bit of news comes from the great play of former UC soccer standout Omar Cummings as the catalyst to lead the Colorado Rapids to an MLS Cup this weekend. Congrats to Omar.
--- Some randomness...
--- The concept of using pepper spray on an oppossing bowler could be the wave of the future in league bowling. Of course, Smokey, this isn't Nam, this is bowling, there are rules. (NSFW) I assume this game in question determined the next round robin.
--- Reason No. 382 I love Twitter. I made a reasonably lame joke involving Count Chocula in the punchline on Twitter during Saturday night's football game. Sunday morning, I received a notice that "MrCountChocula" is now following you on Twitter. I feel MCC will be disappointed, because that one joke exhausted all my Count Chocula material.
--- Watching Ben Roethlisberger get punched in the face makes me happy.
--- Yesterday was Guiness Book of World Records day and tons of ridiculous records tumbled. I just hope Christopher "Big Black" Boykin still holds the mark for most powdered doughnuts eaten in one minute.
--- Blake Griffin may or may not be human.