Two days later, the Bearcats win against Delaware State feels more like a blessing in disguise than it did in the moment.
Keeping a young team on edge about their improvement is necessary. Coaches will be pounding them the next two weeks to play better and take care of the football. I wrote a bit about that in my postgame column. Here's the link in case you missed it.
Two weeks of stewing over the performance and preparing for a game against Virginia Tech could create a perfect storm to pull off a win in Landover.
We shall see. Certainly, that game looks much more winnable today than it did Friday. Still trying to wrap my brain around how Pitt plays like it does the first two weeks and dismantles the Hokies.
Not sure if that result plays out as good or bad for UC in the long run, but giving more credence to the Pitt win doesn't hurt. Beat them both and nobody needs to worry about what it means.
--- S Drew Frey and WR Alex Chisum were held out Saturday's game due to undisclosed injuries. Sitting was announced as precautionary. Sounds like the injuries aren't serious but they wanted to be sure both are ready to go against Virginia Tech. Chisum was even dressed to play, but never touched the field.
--- With every injury comes and opportunity. Damon Julian falls into that list from Saturday. Julian made two particularly nice plays filling in for Chisum. By the time all was said and done, he pulled off the trifecta: First career starter, first career reception, first career touchdown.
He showed off physicality in grinding his way to a touchdown and ran a great route down the sideline hauling in the most impressive pass and catch of the night.
He finished leading the team in receiving with four receptions for 62 yards. Finding out he'd be playing a significant role was a "spur of the moment type of thing," but he didn't look out of place.
Julian is a senior who transferred in from Los Angeles Pierce CC last season but didn't record any statistics playing in just three games.
He may be in line for many more snaps after what he showed against Delaware State. It's been a difficult journey attempting to prove he belongs and Julian certainly relishes the chance he got Saturday.
"It's been tough like every other journey in my life," he said. "At the same time it's a humbling experience once I get one play or two plays or just an opportunity to do anything I try to make the best of anything."
--- There's been much discussion in this space about what will become of the RB rotation and if two or even three backs will featured. How will the rotation work? Well, George Winn has officially bull-rushed his way to the lead.
He carried 24 times for 147 yards against Delaware State after a strong opener against Pittsburgh. Winn earned the right to not only hold onto his starting position, but rarely be spelled by Jameel Poteat and RDAIV. Abernathy is used in so many other way, it's easy to get the ball in his hands 8-12 times a game. Poteat can be inserted to allow the occasional breather, but the offense looks headed in the direction where Winn is the starter and this isn't much of a rotation as much as spelling Winn to make sure he stays fresh.
All that said, Jones still hasn't seen enough out of the running game.
"(Winn) was consistent," Jones said. "What you saw with our offense, we didn't have the big plays that you need. There were a couple times we had some long runs where we had the drop down safety and all we had to do was make one guy miss. We need more big plays in our offense."
--- No, the turnovers from Munchie Legaux weren't a great development. Yes, he forced some throws, but he made a number of shorter throws right on the money that he drew heat for missing in the opener. He wasn't perfect, a few pitch-and-catch throws still short-hopped receivers or flew out of reach, but the accuracy looked better.
The 20 of 27 performance ups his completion percentage to 61.8 on the season. If he can hold that number, UC will win more than its fair share.
--- Got to give credit to the student section for bringing it again. Great crowd of students really brought a ton of energy from that corner of Nippert.
--- Another week and another band member fell running down the steps. Luckily, it wasn't the tuba player. I say if the streak reaches three its time to consider retiring or reformatting the tradition.
--- UC receiving votes in the AP poll this week. The Bearcats received five votes to land them at 34th, one spot behind Virginia Tech.
--- Game time for UC-Virginia Tech still not known as they fall into the six-day TV window. We will know following next Saturday's games. It will either be 3:30 p.m. or a night game.
--- Big week for the Big East. They finish 3-0 against the ACC with Pitt beating Virginia Tech, UConn topping Maryland and Louisville holding on against North Carolina.
Overall, the conference went 6-1.
Wins like those are huge for conference perception, especially given the current landscape of the sport. The fact ACC is viewed in a more favorable light when it comes to play on the football field right now is comical.
--- Big day for UC alums in the NFL. Another nice game for Armon Binns, who hauled in five receptions for 66 yards, including his first NFL pop. He came up woozy after receiving a big hit from D'Qwell Jackson.
Binns manned up, though, and came right back in a few plays later.
Bad news out of Philadelphia as Jason Kelce went out with an injury and reports indicate he's out for the year. Kelce rode into his team's home opener in the back of a fire truck with no shirt on, by the way. Awesome.
On the bright side from Philly, Brent Celek racked up eight receptions, 157 yards and a TD. Oh, and he did this to Ed Reed.---->
--- Isaiah Pead struggling for playing time in St. Louis. Steven Jackson was benched, but Pead didn't see any snaps at RB. he returned one kickoff for 12 yards.
--- Somehow, Bobby Valentine still has a job. Gives help to failing, inept employees everywhere.
--- Proven theory: Monkeys=ratings. Also proven, monkey rankings also net a spot in randomness.
--- This is the Taj Mahal of paper airplanes flown onto the field at Miller Park. I once went to a Montreal Expos game and all the fans brought paper and tried to fly them onto the field from the upper deck. There was more cheering for those that came close than the actual baseball team.
Probably explains the Washington Nationals.