Heard it From Hoard: Column 56
The unibrowed girl in the Planters commercial who uses a peanut for perfume is ugly.The current state of my 401K is ugly. My first car - a rust-colored 1985 Chevy Chevette - was really ugly. But UC's 13-10 win over Rutgers? Not ugly in my book. I know; if you were among the 32,000 at The Nip on Saturday, you probably left the stadium a bit dissatisfied. The second half penalties were atrocious, and the 0-for-11 performance on third down is almost hard to believe. But beating a desperate Rutgers team with fourth string quarterback Chazz Anderson playing in his second college game is an impressive accomplishment. Even if it wasn't a thing of beauty. "It was a difficult day," head coach Brian Kelly told us on the postgame show. "I give a lot of credit to Greg (Schiano) and his defensive staff. They did a super job of changing things up and making it difficult for Chazz to throw the football. He was sporadic today and wasn't as sharp as he was against Marshall. But at the end of the day, with him playing we're 2-0 and from that standpoint we're pleased." Now time for this week's report card. Quarterback - B-plus Statistically, Anderson was terrific going 21-29 for 229 yards and 1 rushing touchdown. He was clearly confused by some of Rutgers defensive looks, but all things considered, another solid performance by the redshirt freshman. Running backs - B Jacob Ramsey finished with 85 yards on 14 carries (6.1 ypc), and his 25-yard run with 3:15 remaining was the offensive highlight of the game. I'd be interested to know how the running backs graded out at picking up blitzes. Wide receivers - B-minus A solid performance against an experienced secondary, but there were no TD catches for the first time this year. It was great to see the emergence of true freshman D.J. Woods in the passing game, as he finished with 4 receptions for 67 yards. Offensive line - C It's a passing grade - largely for giving Anderson the time to complete 72% of his throws. But Rutgers did have 4 sacks, and the O-line was responsible for 7 of Cincinnati's 12 penalties (1 personal foul, 2 holding, 4 false starts). Defensive line - A Except for the first drive of the third quarter, the Bearcats controlled the line of scrimmage on defense and shut down the Rutgers running attack. Connor Barwin had a pair of sacks giving him 6 in his first 6 games as a defensive end. He leads the BIG EAST and ranks 9th in the country. Linebackers - A I thought it was the LBs best overall performance of the season. Torry Cornett seems to get better every week. The former Prairie View A&M basketball player is becoming almost as intimidating as another former student at that school: Mr. T. Defensive backs - A-minus Mike Mickens made the play-of-the-day with 1:26 to go to clinch the win, and the 'Cats held the dynamic duo of Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood to 4 grabs for 51 yards. The DBs were fortunate that Mike Teel missed a couple of wide open receivers on potentially long touchdowns. Special teams - A-plus Kevin Huber was our Kroger star of the game for putting 6 of his 9 punts inside the 17 yard line. He should win Big East Special Teams Player of the Week honors for the 2nd time in his career. Also, kudos to long snapper Mike Windt who was perfect on 12 snaps between punts, field goal attempts, and a PAT. Up next, the UConn Huskies who will be without starting quarterback Tyler Lorenzen who broke his right foot against Louisville. Notre Dame transfer Zach Frazier, who visited UC before choosing UConn, will start in his place. It looks like Tony Pike will be medically cleared to play for the Bearcats, but as Coach Kelly told me before the Rutgers game; he doesn't automatically get his starting job back. "No, I don't think its automatic," Kelly said. "I think Tony has to come back and practice and we've got to feel comfortable that he can run the offense. I think it also has a lot to do with how Chazz plays today. We'll make a decision, but there won't be a controversy because we'll communicate clearly who the guy is and why we want him to play, but it should be a competitive situation." While Pike could return to the lineup, I'm sorry to say we'll have to do without my partner Jim Kelly in the radio booth, who has to miss one game for business reasons. We have lined up a great sub - former Bearcat Sam Garnes who spent 7 years in the NFL with the Giants and Jets. Speaking of former Bearcats, it was great to see Tony Bobbitt in the house at the Fan Jam on Saturday. Tony is making big bucks playing overseas, but still makes his offseason home in Cincinnati area. Other former 'Cats in attendance included Corie Blount, Steve Sanders, Andre Tate, and Alex Meacham. I thought the star of the scrimmage was Darnell Wilks. Despite the sophomore's skinny physique, Coach Cronin is moving him from the wing to the front line this year to take advantage of his strengths. Darnell doesn't have the ball-handling skills to play on the perimeter (at least not yet), but has the height, leaping ability, and quickness to present matchup problems inside. Historically, great Bearcat leapers have had cool nicknames. Mel Levett was "the helicopter." James White was "Flight White." Because he's so slim, how about "the pogo stick" for Wilks? If you can think of something better, send me an e-mail. Finally, I received an e-mail last week from Joe Ratcliff asking if I thought Mike Williams had a good shot at getting a 6th year of eligibility. Here was my response: "I'm not that optimistic. Cincinnati's track record with the NCAA makes it hard for me to believe he'll get an extra year. I hope I'm wrong - it certainly wouldn't be the first time." Since I wrote that, I've done a little research and become more optimistic. There's a case history that appears very similar involving Adam Boone, a guard who played for Minnesota against Cincinnati in the 2006 NIT. Boone played at North Carolina for two years before transferring to Minnesota. After having to sit out a year while redshirting, Boone played his junior season for the Gophers before tearing his bicep and missing his senior year. Boone was granted a 6th year of eligibility by the NCAA and finished his career the following season. Mike Williams spent two years at Texas, sat out a year while redshirting, then tore his Achilles tendon before his junior season. After playing this season, he can file an appeal for an extra year. It seems to me that his story is nearly identical to Boone's - let's hope the NCAA agrees. I'd love to hear from you. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy this week's photo of the handsome lad who clearly has his father's appetite.